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of the 
Middle United States 







Censor Ltbrorum 


Archbishop of New York 

August I, 
Copyright, 1938, by THE AMERICA PRESS 





This history purposes to tell the authentic story of the Society of 
Jesus m the Middle United States. That body, as other Catholic re- 
ligious bodies of men and women having international affiliations, is 
organized into administrative units or provinces, the Jesuits of the 
Middle United States constituting, during practically all the period 
covered by the present work, the province of Missouri with executive 
headquarters in St. Louis.* But the territorial extent of the province 
of Missouri has been of far greater sweep than the historic common- 
wealth the name of which it borrows. It embraced up to recent date 
fifteen states, lying severally in the upper Mississippi Valley or in the 
basin of the Great Lakes or in both. The term "Middle United States" 
consequently best describes the widely extended area which constituted 
the field of operations of the Jesuits of the jurisdiction named. That 
area, roughly outlined, included the territory lying between the forty- 
ninth parallel, Mason and Dixon's line, the Rocky Mountain Continen- 
tal Divide and the eastern boundaries of Michigan and Ohio. 

The history of the midwestern Jesuits has now filled out a hundred 
years and more, crowded with every sort of ministerial and educational 
endeavor. Reaching out from St. Louis in this direction and that over 
the territory indicated, they have through the agency of schools of every 
grade, as also of parishes, mission-posts and other media of apostolic 
effort and enterprise, identified themselves with the religious and in 
a measure with the civil beginnings of most of the important localities 
of the central states. What lends special significance to the record before 
us is the circumstance that this particular branch of the Jesuit organi- 
zation grew up from rude beginnings to maturity fan fassu with the 
great expanse of territory on which its activities have been staged. Men 
of its jurisdiction were spending their energies in religious and humani- 
tarian service of various sorts in most of the great western cities of 
today at a period when the latter were but pioneer communities pain- 
fully struggling forward to their present growth. Furthermore, over 
the earlier chapters of the story hangs something of the romance and 
glamor of the Old Frontier. The paths of the first midwestern Jesuits 

*In 1928 the Missouri Province territory lying east of the Mississippi River 
(Wisconsin and a part of Illinois excepted) was organized into a separate and 
independent Jesuit province with headquarters in Chicago. The history here set 
before the reader chronicles the activities of both provinces, Missouri and Chicago. 


lay across those of many of the history-making figures on the stage of 
the advancing frontier. Van Quickenborne, their leader, had frequent 
business dealings with William Clark of the Lewis and Clark 
expedition, America's greatest epic of exploration, while their best 
known Indian missionary, De Smet, made personal contacts with John 
McLoughlm, "Father of Oregon." In fine, the Old Frontier, "the 
most American thing in all America," eloquent of every manner of 
daring and adventure, was in large measure the historic background 
against which the pioneer missionary and educational efforts of the 
Jesuits of the Middle West were set. 

The material of this history has been derived from a great range 
and variety of sources, among them, m particular, the general archives 
of the Society of Jesus, the archives of the Jesuit provinces of Missouri, 
Maryland-New York, Northern Belgium, and Lower German), the 
Baltimore and St. Louis archdiocesan archives, the "Catholic Archives 
of America" (Notre Dame University), and the files of the Indian 
Office, Department of the Interior, Washington. But numerous other 
archival depositaries have also been drawn upon, an effort having been 
made to set the narrative at every stage of its development on a secure 
basis of first-hand documentary information. In fine, the absence, m 
general, of printed accounts bearing in any significant way on the history 
of the midwestern Jesuits made it necessary for the author to derive 
his material almost entirely from original and unpublished sources. 

The problem of handling the great complexity of detail involved 
in such a comprehensive record as is here attempted has been met, 
wisely, it is believed, by adopting on the whole a method of treatment 
broadly topical rather than stiffly chronological. Hence, it results, the 
Kickapoo and Council Bluffs Missions, to cite these two instances by 
way of illustration, are disposed of m individual chapters, each present- 
ing a comprehensive and rounded-out treatment of the respective 
missions for the entire course of their history. This plan, while neces- 
sitating an occasional overlapping of content and a certain forward and 
backward movement among successive administrative periods, has the 
outbalancing advantage of making for unity and continuity of treatment 
m all important topics that come to hand. A merely chronological 
scheme has too many inconveniences to commend itself for adoption 
in a record like the present, set as this is against a frequently shifting 
physical background and presenting a very great diversity of concur- 
rent activities, missionary, educational and otherwise. 

This history, as originally planned and written, did not extend 
beyond the Civil War period or the end of the sixties* I^ater it was 
thought advisable to continue the narrative so as to have it cover at 
least the first century, 1823-1923, of Jesuit activity in the Middle 


United States and even more recent years But for the period subse- 
quent to the sixties no attempt is made at documentation. Here the 
treatment is necessarily sketchy, being only a brief survey of matters 
an adequate account of which is precluded by limitations of space. The 
dispatch with which many topics are thus disposed of can be no measure 
of the significance that is theirs in the Jesuit story here told. The out- 
standing gam achieved by carrying the narrative up to recent date is 
that it becomes possible on this plan to bring to the reader's notice the 
impressive development that has come to crown the efforts and sacri- 
fices, often of heroic degree, of the pioneer Jesuits of the Middle West. 

Translations of letters and documents are the author's own unless 
otherwise indicated m the foot-notes. In all quoted matter, whether 
original text or translation, in all verbatim citations of documentary 
material, the original text is reproduced without change, except in rare 
instances where slight verbal alterations are introduced. In the case of 
translations the capitalization and spelling of proper names which obtain 
m the original are retained even though at variance with the style 
adopted in the text of the history. The spelling of Indian names con- 
forms to the usage of the United States Bureau of Ethnology. 

For key-letters to archival depositaries and abbreviations of titles 
of periodicals, the reader is referred to Vol. Ill, pp 602, 614. 

The author makes grateful acknowledgment to all, and their num- 
ber is considerable, who have m any manner assisted him m the prepara- 
tion of the work. In particular, he is greatly indebted to Reverend 
Laurence J. Kenny, S J , and Reverend William T. Doran, S J , for 
their careful and critical reading of the manuscript. A similar service 
was rendered by the late Reverend William Banks Rogers, S J Again, 
the author expresses cordial thanks for the courtesies shown in his regard 
by the keepers of archives, civil or ecclesiastical, whether in the United 
Str Canada or Europe, who have obligingly placed their treasures at 
h * ,r\l or otherwise aided him in his researches. Acknowledgment 
is likewu made to Reverend Alfred G. Brickel, SJ, and Reverend 
Gerald A. Pfczgibbons, S J,, who gave generous assistance on the proofs. 
Reverend Fraft^is X. Talbot, S J., and Reverend Francis P LeBuffe, 
S.J., lent valuable aid m attending to details of publication. A special 
measure of grateful appreciation is due to Reverend Charles H Cloud, 
S J , provincial superior of the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus, 
1930-1936, to whose enlightened enterprise is due the solution of the 
economic problem attending the publication of the volumes. 

The sketch-maps illustrating the text at various stages are due to 
the technical skill of Reverend John P. Markoe, S J., and Reverend 
Jerome V, Jacobsen, S.J., whose services in this connection are acknowl- 
edged with many thanks. 



Finally, the author cannot but express the hope that the following 
pages may serve in some small measure to bring home to the reader 
the efforts of three generations of earnest men to pursue on the stage 
of the Middle United States the high ideals traced out for them by 
their religious leader under Christ, St. Ignatius Loyola. 


Loyola Umverstty, Chicago 
January i > 1938. 






I The Maryland Mission, 9 2. Father Nennckx and his Jesuit recruits, 
ii. 3. The Belgian icciuits of 1821, 15 4. Father Van Quicken- 
borne, 22, 5. The White Marsh novitiate, 28. 


I Bibhop Du Bourg, 35 2 Appeals for missionaries, 40 3 Negotia- 
tions with government, 45 4 Negotiations with the Maryland Jesuits, 55 
5. Transfer of the novitiate, 72. 


I The Cumberland Road, 79. 2 On the Ohio, 84. 


I. The Bishop's Farm, 92 2 Taking possession of the farm, 97. 3 A 
period of distress, 108. 4. Beginnings of the scholasticate, 125. 5. The 
Muiyland superior at Florissant, 131. 6. The Concordat, 138. 


I. An educational venture, 147 2. Correspondence with government, 
*53' 3- The school m operation, 161 4, Passing of the school, 165. 


i. Father Van Quickenborne and the Indian problem, 170 2. The first 
Catholic missionary to the Osage, 176. 3. Van Quickenborne's excursions to 
the Osage, 182. 


i. St. Ferdinand, 195, 2 St. Charles, 203. 3. Portage des Sioux, 218 
4. Dardennc, 224. 




I Central Missouri, 228 2 The Salt River Mission, 238 3 Western 
Illinois, 24.3 4 At the mouth of the Kansas, 254 5 The Platte Pur- 
chase, 264. 


i Bishop Du Bourg's invitation, 269 2 Bishop Du Bourg and the Col- 
lege Lot, 275 3 The new St Louis College, 282 4 Earlv struggles 
2 94 5 The question of tuition-money, 303 




I The independent Mission of Missouri, 311. 2. Father Kcnncv, \ isitor 
of Missouri, 317 3 The Visitor and St Louis College, 322 4 Close ot 
the visitation, 326. 


I The first accessions, 331. 2 A laj- recruiting agent, 338. 3 St. 
Stanislaus Novitiate, 342 4, The Belgian expedition^, 350. 5. Kailv 
benefactors, 361. 


i. The Indian Mission, 376 2. Preparation* for the Kiekapuo Mi^um, 
386. 3 The mission opens, 395 4 A slender harvest, 402* 5. The 
passing of Fathci Van Quickenborne, 408. 6* Verhuegen and the I mil an 
Office, 414 7 The mission suppressed, 418. 


i. The Potawatomi, 422 2 Negotiations with government, 425* v 
Opening of St Joseph's Mission, 432. 4* A short-In ed minion, f,^. 


i. St Joseph's residence, New Wtstphaha, 447. z Missionary excursion*, 
1838-1842, 455 3. Father HcJiaa at Haarville, 465. 4. (Growth of the 
parishes, 473 


i. Theodore De Thcux, 1831-1836, 482 2. Peter Verhacgen, 1836- 
1843, 487 3 James Oliver Van de Velde, 1843-1848, 504. 



i Father Elet's appointment, 1848, 513. 2 Father Van de Velde be- 
comes Bishop of Chicago, 515 3 The affair with Archbishop Kennck, 
5 1 8 & 4- The Swiss refugees of 1848, 524 5 Recurring problems, 541 
6 Closing days, 546. 




i Ovcreuger zeal, 553. 2 . William Stack Murphy, 557. 3 John Bap- 
tist Druyts, 565. 4. Ferdinand Coosemans, 571. 


i The novice-masters, 593 2 Noviceship life, 598. 3. Novitiate 
buildings and farm, 604. 4 The junioratc, 620 5 The scholasticate, 
623. 6 The common scholasticate, 637 7 The tertianship, 645. 8. 
Recruiting the workers, 647. 

Church block, St. Louis, 1 8 23 Facing -page 9 1 

Louis William Valentine Du Bourg 96 

Charles Nermckx 9^ 

Charles De La Croix 97 

Venerable Mother Rose Philippine Duchesne, R.S.CJ 97 

St. Regis Seminary, Florissant, Mo, 1830 166 

Church and rectory of St Francis Regis, Kansas City, Mo. 261 

St. Louis University, original structure, 1829-1833 298 

Peter Kenney, S J. 312 

Kickapoo Mission, 1837 403 

St. Joseph's Mission, Council Bluffs, Iowa 436 

Ferdinand Helias, S J. 476 

Peter Verhaegen, S J. 498 

John A. Elet, S J. 514 

William S. Murphy, S J. 564 

John B. Druyts, SJ. 564 

Ferdinand Coosemans, SJ. 564 

Joseph E. Keller, SJ. 564 

Isidore Boudreaux, S J. 606 

"Rock Building," Florissant, Mo. 606 


Letter of Du Bourg to Calhoun, March 10, 1 823 Facing page 54 

Last page of letter of Calhoun to Du Bourg, 

March 21, 1822 (1823) 55 

First page of letter of B. Fenwick to Fortis Between pages 96-97 

A Van Quickenborne report on the Indian school, 1825-1826 

Between pages 166-167 

Letter of Van Quickenborne to Cass, July 10, 1 832 Facing page 167 

Record of marriage of Benjamin Lagauthene and Charlotte Gray 261 

Letter of Van Quickenborne to Kenney, November 15, 1830 313 

Letter of Verhaegen to McSherry, October 20, 1838 498 

Page of memorial of Van de Velde to Roothaan, 1841 499 

Part of letter of Elet to Roothaan, October 24, 1848 514 

Page of memorial of Elet to Roothaan, 1847 515 

Part of letter of W. S. Murphy to Roothaan, October 8, 1851 565 


Route followed by Van Quickenborne's party of 1823 Facing page 90 

Four Missouri parishes 202, 

Missouri River circuit 238 

Salt River Mission 239 

Van Quickenborne's missionary circuit Missouri, Illinois, 

Iowa, 1832-1834 244 

Missionary circuit, Missouri frontier 260 

"The Indian Country," sketch by Van Quickenborne, I 402 

"The Indian Country," sketch by Van Quickenborne, II 

Between pages 402-403 

Mission of Central Missouri, 1838-1867 Between pages 476-477 

Mission of Central Missouri, sketch by Ehrensberger Fating page 477 


The arrival of Father Van Quickenborne and his Belgian novices 
at Florissant, Missouri, in 1823, marked the renewal after a period of 
forced interruption and not the actual beginning of Jesuit missionary 
enterprise in the Middle United States. That beginning was made at 
least as early as 1673 when Father Marquette in his historic voyage 
down the Mississippi ministered to the Indians along its banks and 
formed plans for evangelizing the region drained by the great water- 
way and its tributary streams. These plans were to be realized, if not 
wholly, at least in part. The work of religious and humanitarian service 
on behalf of the native red men inaugurated by Marquette was earned 
forward in the face of tremendous obstacles by successive members of 
his order, mid-America remaining a favorite field of Jesuit missionary 
activity down to 1763, when, as an incident in the general destruction 
of the Society of Jesus throughout the world, its missions m that section 
of North America were stricken down at a single blow. Between 
Marquette, the first Jesuit to traverse the watershed of the Mississippi, 
and Sebastien Louis Meurm, the last of his eighteenth-century successors 
to exercise the sacred ministry m that region, a long line of missionaries 
of the Society of Jesus devoted themselves to the formidable task of 
Christianizing and civilizing the savage population of mid-continental 
North America. It would not be in accord with the facts to say that 
their labors issued in complete success. Difficulties of every description 
were met with thwarting their pious designs and preventing them from 
reaping in proper measure the fruits of the harvest. But the work was 
nobly planned and heroically persevered in, and its written record, as 
we read it in the letters of Gravier, Gabriel Marest, Vivier and their 
associates, is a fascinating chapter in the history of Catholic missionary 
achievement in the New World. The group of Belgian Jesuits that 
settled on the banks of the Missouri in the third decade of the nine- 
teenth century were therefore not the first of their order to enter the 
great sweep of territory flanked by the Alleghanies and the Rockies. 
A path for civilization, no less than for the Gospel, had been blazed 
before them by their brethren of the seventeenth and eighteenth cen- 
turies; and, as grateful personal recollections of the earlier line of Jesuit 
workers still lingered in the memory of the oldest inhabitants when 


Van Quickenborne and his party appeared on the scene, the thread o 
continuity between the old and the new Society of Jesus in the Middle 
United States remained in a sense unbroken. 1 

Rounding out m 1936 a hundred and thirteen years of history, the 
midwestern Jesuits of the United States were in this year conducting 
establishments in the states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South 
Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, 
Indiana, and Illinois, as also m British Honduras and British East India. 
Moreover, they had in the past maintained houses m Louisiana and 
Kentucky and in the territory now comprised within the states of Mon- 
tana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Their present field of operations 
may be said to comprise in the rough two great regions, one, the part 
of the basin of the Great Lakes lying south of the Canadian border and 
west of New York State, the other the upper Mississippi Valley, exclu- 
sive of its extreme northwestern reaches. 14 The first Jesuit name to be 
associated with the upper Great Lakes region is that of St. Isaac Jogues, 
who, m 1641, in company with Father Charles Raymbault, planted the 
cross at Sault Ste. Marie in what is now the state of Michigan 5 the first 
Jesuit name to be distinctly connected with the Mississippi Valley is 
the historic one of Jacques Marquette, who with Louis Jolhet discovered 
the upper Mississippi River at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, June 17, 
1673. With these memorable names, Jogues, the martyr-priest, and 
Marquette, the discoverer, begins the story of Jesuit activity m the 
great sweep of territory now cultivated by the Society of Jesus in the 
Middle United States. 

No more engaging pages m history may be read than those which 
unfold the successive scenes in the gripping drama of discovery, explora- 
tion, and splendid pioneering that was enacted on the stage of mid- 
America by the French of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 
The theme has been handled repeatedly by the historians, notably by 
Francis Parkman in his classic volumes and by Clarence Walworth 
Alvord in his Illinois Country. Two sharply contrasted groups of 
participants divide the action between them; on the one hand, the 
empire-builders, the colonial officials of whatever grade, the fur-traders, 
the adventurers by forest and stream and the sparsely scattered hab- 
itants $ on the other hand, the Church's representatives, more particu- 
larly the missionaries to the Indians, as the Franciscans and Jesuits, 

1 The Trappist, Dom Urban GuiIIct, communicated to Bishop Carroll, Novem- 
ber 1 6, 1 8 10, a petition on the part of the people of the "Illinois country'* for 
a Jesuit missionary Baltimore Archdiocesan Archives 

la The Jesuits of the lower Mississippi Valley are organised as a separate ad- 
ministrative unit with headquarters at New Orleans. 


whose activities in evangelizing the native tribes of the New World 
are of lasting record. On the secular side the stage is crowded with 
figures whose names spell the very glamor and romance of history 
the roll-call includes, among others, Nicolet, Radisson, Groseilliers, 
Frontenac, Jolliet, Tonti, Duluth, Perrot, Bienville, Iberville, Cadillac, 
and Laclede-Liguest. But outstanding ecclesiastical figures mingle with 
these, lending to the moving drama in which they shared just those 
elements of the spiritual and supernatural which, as much as anything 
else, probably more so, make of that drama a thing of perennial interest 
and charm 

The incidents and conditions of whatever kind that entered into 
the highly significant action of which we speak do not merely con- 
stitute a phase of French colonial history on American soil, they 
mark also the historical beginnings of many of the middlewestern 
states. With these beginnings the Society of Jesus came in various ways 
to be identified. While detail is not pertinent here, even a meagre 
enumeration of particulars may serve its purpose, as suggesting the 
wealth of significant data left unnoticed In Michigan pioneer history 
the outstanding Jesuit names are probably Menard, Marquette, and 
Dablon. The first Mass on the shores of Lake Superior was said by 
Father Rene Menard at Old Village Point, Keenewaw Bay, on St. 
Theresa's day, October 16, 1660, and said by him "with a consolation," 
so he wrote, "that repaid me with usury for all my past hardships." 2 
Eight years later, m 1668, Father Marquette opened at Sault Ste. Mane, 
on the Michigan side of the rapids, a mission-post that was to become 
the first permanent white settlement within the limits of the state 3 
Then, m 1 670, came the establishment by Claude Dablon of the Ottawa 
Mission of St. Ignace at the straits of Michilimackmac or Mackinaw,, a 
long-standing center of Gospel light and Reading for all the region of 
the Great Lakes. 4 In Wisconsin the earliest missionary endeavors on 
behalf of the Indian gather around the name of Claude Allouez On 
Chequamegon Bay near the modern Ashland, at De Pere, and at 
various points m the interior of the state, he set up mission-posts that 
became so many starting-points for the civilizing influences that he 
sought to bring to bear upon the children of the forest. His appointment 
to the post of vicar-general by saintly Bishop Laval, July 21, 1663, 
marked in a way the first organization of the Church in mid-America. 
From his pen came the earliest published account of the Illinois Indians, 

* John Gilmary Shea, History of the Catholic Church m the United States 
(Akron, 1892), i: ^63. 

* Michlgm Pionetr <mA Historical Collections, 35- 34.1 (1905-1906) 
*Atttoinc Ivan Rezek, History of tJw Diocese of Sault-Stt~Mant and Mar- 

quttte (Houghton, Michigan), z:73* 


who were to give their name to the future state. No other figure at the 
dawn of Wisconsin history rises to a more commanding height If the 
name of Jacques Marquette stands apart m the fervor of its appeal to 
sentiment and the historical imagination, the name of Claude Allouez 
deserves to be remembered as that of the first organizer of Catholicism 
m what is now the heart of the United States 5 

To come to Illinois of the colonial period, its best known Jesuit 
figure is Marquette. One thinks of his heroic wintering of 1674-1675 
on the banks of the Chicago River, the opening episode in the life-story 
of the future metropolis, also, of his memorable Kaskaskia Mission on 
the Illinois River, destined to stand out m history as the spot where 
Christianity and civilization made their first rude beginnings m the 
Mississippi Valley. It is to the pen of Father Marquette that we owe 
the earliest descriptions of the streams and prairies of Illinois The 
expedition of 1673 led him along the entire western boundan of the 
state and then through its interior as he ascended the Illinois on his 
homeward course. His accounts of the upper Mississippi, the Illinois, 
and the Chicago Rivers are the earliest that we possess, and the record 
he has left us, whether of travel or missionary experience m the country 
through which they flow, is the first page m the written history of the 
commonwealth of Illinois. 

Following Marquette, a succession of energetic Jesuit workers, 
among them Claude Allouez, Sebastian Rasles, Jacques Gravier, Juhen 
Bineteau, and Gabriel Marest, gave their services to the maintenance 
of his beloved mission. When m 1700 the Kaskaskia abandoned their 
settlement on the Illinois for a new one on the west bank of the 
Mississippi on the site of St. Louis, they were accompanied thither by 
their Jesuit pastors. The town of Kaskaskia, which grew up around a 
later village of the tribe on the banks of the Okaw or Kaskaskia River, 
became in time the most considerable settlement of the "Illinois Coun- 
try" and the center of a picturesque social life which survived the passing 
of French ascendancy in the basin of the Mississippi. Here, almost up 
to the third quarter of the eighteenth century, Jesuit priests relieved 
the spiritual needs of French and Indians alike, the entire group of 
French trading-posts and villages on either bank of the mid-Mississippi 
being brought withm range of their ministry. Sketching Jesuit mission- 
ary work in colonial Illinois, one may not omit mention of Father 
Pierre-Frangois Pinet's Mission of the Guardian Angel on the site of 
Chicago, very probably on ground which is now within the throbbing 
business center of the great metropolis. It ran its course in a few years 

5 Shea, of. cit , I 269 Chrysostom Vcrwyst, CXF M., "Historic Site* on Che- 
quamegon Baj," Wisconsin Historical Collections^ 13.426-440 


(c. 1696-1702) , but authentic details about it survive in measure enough 
to enable us to realize the part it played in the frontier life of that re- 
mote day. Of contributions made by the Society of Jesus to the initial 
economic and social growth of Illinois two may be noted its mission- 
aries were the first growers of wheat on a large scale in Illinois and in 
their residences at Kaskaskia and other points were the earliest school- 
teachers of that same region. 6 

Missouri of the eighteenth century counted two Jesuit missions, 
one at the mouth of the Des Peres River within the present municipal 
limits of St. Louis, and another, of later date, at Ste. Genevieve. 7 To a 
Jesuit, Scbastien Louis Meunn, belongs the distinction of having been 
the first priest to officiate in Laclede's settlement of St. Louis, destined 
to become very intimately linked with the history of the restored Society 
of Jesus in the Mississippi Valley. Few scenes became more familiar 
to the members of the Society than the physical aspect of the eastern 
edge of Missouri, which they came to know as they went up and down 
the Mississippi on their missionary trips. The first Jesuit to descend 
the mighty stream notes in his Recit the amazement that he felt when, 
for the first time, he gazed upon the Missouri River at the point where 
it mingles its current with torrent-like rapidity with the current of the 
Mississippi. "I never," Marquette wrote, "saw anything more terrible " 8 
He called the Missouri the Pekitanoui; and, though he made no 
attempt to ascend it, he picked up much valuable information concerning 
the country through which it flowed. The map which he prepared prob- 
ably as an accompaniment to his Rectt shows the Missouri or Pekitanoui 
discharging into the Mississippi a short distance below the Illinois 
It shows, too, in most cases in the same localities m which they were 
found by the white settlers and travellers of a later day, many of the 
Indian tribes that were destined to play an important part m the early 
history of the West. To the west of the Missouri one finds indicated 
the country of the "Kmissoun" and "Ochages," or the Missouri and 
Osage, the two tribes most intimately associated with the pioneer stage 

tt Gilbert J. Garraghan, S.J., TJte Catholic Church in Chicago, 1673-1871 
(1921), pp. i-2i > Clarence W, Alvord, The Illinois Country, 1673-1818 (Spring- 
field, Illinois, 1920), pp. 198, 208 j Mtt-Amenca (Chicago), 13. 72, Mary 
Borgiat Palm, 8.N IX, The Jesuit Missions of the Illinois Country, 1673-1763 
(Cleveland, 1933)' 

r The tradition locating a Jesuit mission at the mouth of the River Des Peres, 
Missouri, has been authenticated by Laurence J. Kenny, S.J., St. Louts Cathokc 
Historical Rtvitt&, 1:151-156. Cf, also Garraghan, Chapters in Frontier History 
(Milwaukee, 1934)* fosslm* Francis J. Yealy, S.J., Samte Genevieve, The Story 
of Missouri's QUest Settlement (Sainte Genevieve, 1935). 

R. G, Thwaites (cd,)> The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents (Cleve- 
land, 1896-1901), 59: 141. 


of Missouri history, while west of these tribes appears the country of 
the Pamassa, Kansa and Maha, or the Pawnee, Kansa and Omaha 

But Marquette was not the only missionary of his order to put on 
record the wonders of the Missouri River and the country \\hich it 
drains. Fifty years after him, Father Charlevoix, the historian of New 
France and a trained observer of the wonders of the New World, 
found himself at the mouth of the Missouri and was equally moved 
by the spectacle before him "I believe this is the finest Confluence in 
the World," he exclaims with enthusiasm. "The two rivers are much 
of the same breadth, each about a half a league, but the Missouri is by 
far the most rapid of the two and seems to enter the Mississippi like a 
conqueror, through which it carries its white waters to the opposite 
shore, without mixing them, after which it gives its colour to the 
Mississippi, which it never loses again, but carries it quite down to the 
sea." 9 To Father Louis Vivier, writing from Kaskaskia m 1750, the 
water of the Missouri seemed, to quote his glowing estimate, a the best 
water in the world," and the country drained by the Missouri, "the 
finest country in the world." 10 

The land that is now Iowa shows no other link of association with 
the path-finding Jesuits of the Mississippi Valley except the circum- 
stance that Marquette and his party were the first white persons known 
to have set foot upon its soil. 11 In Minnesota, on the west bank of 
Lake Pepin, Father Michel Guignas opened in 1727 his Sioux Mission 
of St. Michael the Archangel, while, within the limits of the same 
state, on Massacre Island, Lake of the Woods, the Jesuit Jean Pierre 
Aulneau was slain by Indians, June 8, I736. 1 - Kansas and Nebraska, 
as far as is known, never made the acquaintance of the old-time Jesuit 
missionaries 5 but their leading Indian tribes are named for the first 
time in history on the maps prepared by Jolliet and Marquette in 
connection with the eventful journey of 1673. 

Returning now to the eastern section of the Mississippi Valley, one 
finds evidence of Jesuit ministerial work among the Miami and other 
Indians settled in the eighteenth century around the French post, Fort 
Ouatenon, near the present Lafayette, Indiana. The documentary rec- 
ords of the Catholic Church in this state begin with a marriage-entry, 

9 F X. Charlevoix, S J,, A Voyage* to North America (Dublin, 1766), z: X. 

10 Thwaites, 69: 207, 223; Garraghan, op. cit^ pp 51-72. 

11 Laenas Clifford Weld, "Jolliet and Marquettc m Iowa n /OCCM Jwritjl of 
History and Politics^ i: 3-16 (Jan,, 1903). 

12 J. G. Shea, Early Voyages up and down the Mississippi-, "The Discovery of 
the Relics of the Reverend Jean Pierre Aulneau," Historical Records and Studies^ 
5: 488; Nancy Ring, "The First Sioux Mission/* Mid-America^ 14: 344-351* 


under date of April 21, 1749, m the parochial register of the Church 
of St. Francis Xavier in Vmcennes, the officiating priest being Father 
Sebastien Louis Meurm of the Society of Jesus. 13 In Ohio the oldest 
Catholic establishment within the limits of the state was apparently the 
Jesuit Wyandot mission on the Sandusky River, established about 
175 1. 14 Noteworthy as a contribution to the pioneer history of the same 
state is the journal of Joseph-Pierre de Bonnecamps, Jesuit scientist 
and mathematician of Quebec, who accompanied Celoron on his expe- 
dition of 1749 through the Ohio country. To Bonnecamps "Ohio owes 
the first map of her boundaries or outlines yet discovered." 15 

The few facts assembled in the preceding paragraphs may serve to 
indicate at what an early date the missionaries of the Society of Jesus 
made their entrance into the Great Lakes region and the Mississippi 
Valley and how the story of their ministry became blended with the 
pioneer annals of most of the midwestern states. For more than five- 
score years they made resolute effort to uplift the helpless Indians to 
something like self-respect and a sense of moral responsibility and to 
introduce among them the ways of ordered and civilized life. The 
number of the missionaries was ever small and the tasks they attempted 
stood in pathetic contrast to the paltry resources at their command. 
They were still engaged m their self-denying labors when a deadly 
blow similar to the one which had fallen on their establishments in 
France was levelled at the lowly mission-stations they had raised at 
the price of untold sacrifices m the wilderness of western America. 
The Superior Council of Louisiana, veiling its actual motives under a 
profession of zeal for religion, decreed on June 9, 1763, the destruc- 
tion of all the Jesuit houses in the territory under its jurisdiction. The 
decree was carried out under circumstances of exceptional harshness, 
the lands and houses of the missionaries being confiscated, their chapels 
despoiled, their altar-equipment scattered and profaned, and they them- 
selves violently carried off from their various posts to New Orleans, 
whence, with one or two exceptions, they were deported to Europe. 
Thus was the work of the old Society of Jesus in the Mississippi Valley, 
memorable for the first exploration of the Mississippi and for a thousand 
beneficent activities among the Indian tribes that roamed its wondrous 
valley, brought to an abrupt and tragic end. The last of the pre- 
suppression Jesuits to survive in the West was the veteran missionary, 

18 Garraghan, 9$. dt^ pp. 1-24. 

M Shea, of. cit.> 1 : 63 1 ; W. Eugene Shiels, S J , "The Jesuits in Ohio in the 
Eighteenth Century/' MM~Am*rica> 18: 27 tt seq* 

" Rufus King, QJUo: Tirst Fruits of the Ordinance of 1787 (Boston, 1888), 
p. 63. Bonnfcamps's map is in King's volume, p. 13. For Bonnecamps's journal 
cf, Thwaites, 69: 150* 


Sebastien Louis Meurm, who died at Prairie du Rocher, Illinois, Feb- 
ruary 23, 1777. His remains lie with those of the Jesuit founders of 
1823 in the historic graveyard at Florissant, Missouri, a precious link 
of association between the old and the new Society of Jesus in the 
Middle United States. 16 

16 For a contemporary account of the expulsion of the Jesuits from Louisiana 
(Bannissement des Jesmtes de la Louisiana) by Fiancpis Philibeit Watrm, SJ, 
cf Thwaites, 70 211-301 The most satisfactory treatment of the topic is Jean 
Delanglez, S J , The Trench Jesuits in Lower Louisiana, 1700-1765 (Washington, 
1935). Jesuit mission activities in mid-America of the colonial period arc treated 
in Mary Dons Mulvey, OP, Trench Catholic Mtwonaties in the Pie\ent United 
States (Washington, 1936) 




The hifctot> of the Jesuit Mission of Maryland begins with the 
name or Father Andrew White, who, with his fellow-Jesuits, Father 
John Altham and Thomas Gervase, a coadjutor-brother, was among 
the passengers that disembarked from the Ark at St. Clement's Island, 
Marj land, March 25, 1634. The "Apostle of Maryland," as Father 
White has come to be known, labored strenuously through fourteen 
years on behalf of the white and Indian population of the colony, leav- 
ing behind him on his forced return to England an example of mis- 
sionary zeal which his Jesuit successors sought to follow for a century 
and more down to the painful period of the Suppression. As a conse- 
quence of that event the former Jesuit priests of the Maryland Mission 
orgamyed themselves into a legal body known as the "Corporation of 
Roman Catholic Clergymen" for the purpose of holding by due legal 
tenure the property belonging to the Society of Jesus m Maryland 
and of restoring; it to the Society m case the latter should be canonically 
reestablished. a 

During the entire period of the Suppression the Jesuits maintained 
a canonical existence in Russia. When in 1803 Bishop John Carroll of 
Baltimore and his coadjutor, Bishop Leonard Neale, both former Jesuits 
themselves, petitioned the Father General, Gabriel Gruber, to affiliate 
the Maryland ex- Jesuits to the Society as existing m Russia, the latter 
in a communication from St. Petersburg authorized Bishop Carroll to 
prepare the way for a Jesuit mission in Maryland by appointing a 
superior- On receiving this intelligence, Bishop Carroll summoned the 
one-time Jesuits to a conference at St. Thomas Manor, St Charles 
County, Maryland, in the month of May, 1805. The Fathers assembled 
on this occasion, five in number, were met by Bishops Carroll and Neale. 

1 Under pressure brought to bear upon him by the Bourbon courts of Europe 
Pope Clement XIV suppressed the Society of Jesus in 1773. A brief account of the 
circumstances which brought about the measure may be read in the Cathohc Ency- 
rlopfdla^ 14.99* The act of suppression involved no condemnation of the Society 
as a whole or of any of its members, being a merely administrative measure m the 
interests of peace and not a sentence based on judicial inquiry. The Society of 
Jeau$ waa solemnly reestablished throughout the Church by Pius VII m 1814 



The letter of Father Gruber was read to them and on the following 
day, May io, all five signified their desire to reunite with the Society 
and witnessed moreover that Father Robert Molyneaux, who was 
absent, had authorized them to declare his intention to do the same. 
Under authority of the General's letter of instructions Bishop Carroll 
named Father Molyneaux superior of the American Jesuits, his appoint- 
ment being dated June 27, 1805. Finally, on the Sunday within the 
octave of the Assumption, August 18, 1805, Fathers Robert Mohneaux 
and Charles Sewall renewed their Jesuit vows in St. Ignatius Church, 
St. Thomas Manor, thus reviving the corporate existence of the Society 
of Jesus in the United States 2 On the same occasion Father Charles 
Neale, who had been only a novice in the pre-Suppression Society , pro- 
nounced his vows for the first time. 

The tenth of October, 1 806, saw the opening of the first novitiate 
of the Maryland Mission, no house of probation having existed in the 
mission m the period before the Suppression. On that day, sacred to 
the memory of the Jesuit saint, Francis Borgia, ten novices, eight of 
them scholastics or candidates for the priesthood, and two lay or 
coadjutor-brothers, assembled m a house opposite historic Trinity 
Church m Georgetown, D C , and there, under the direction of Father 
Francis Neale as master of novices, entered on the thirty da>s > retreat 
with which the Jesuit noviceship usually begins. Father Francis Neale 
was himself a novice, being admitted to the Society that same day, 
October io, 1806. Of the two lay candidates, one was John McEIroy, 
a young man of Irish birth, who, on showing capacity for preaching 
and other ministerial functions, was later advanced to the priesthood. 
The retreat having ended on November 13, the novices went after 
High Mass to Georgetown College where they took possession of the 
second story of the pioneer building erected some seventeen years 
before. 3 

Georgetown College continued thus to house the novices for about 
five years, when, in consequence of crowded quarters, the distracting 

2 WL (Woodstock, Md ), 32 190* The restoration of the Society of Jesus in 
Maryland in 1806 was not a public and canonical restoration (m ff/to rxtttrw)) 
but an informal or private one The public restoration of the Society was effected 
only by the bull of Pius VII, Solli&tutlo omnium^ August 7, 1814. 

3 Catalogue Mt wonts MarylanJtae, 1806, "Recollection^ of Father John 
McKlroy," WL > 16 161 These Recollections furnish a first-hand account of some 
of the circumstances attending the reestablishment of the Society of Je*u* in the 
United States Among the tests of fitness for the life of the order to which the 
Jesuit novice is submitted is that of a thirty-day period of intensive spiritual ex- 
perience and training known as a "retreat " The exercises peculiar to a Jesuit 
"retreat" are those outlined by St Ignatius Loyola in his classic manual for proper 
regulation of one's life, known as the "Book of Exercises." 


presence of college students and the uncertainty of means of support, 
a change of place for the novitiate was found to be necessary. The 
support of the novices was provided for out of the revenue derived 
from the farms which the Jesuit mission owned in various parts of 
Maryland 5 but the revenue thus derived was quite unreliable and in 
some years amounted to almost nothing at all. An effort having accord- 
ingly been made to secure a more suitable house for the novices. White 
Marsh, a Jesuit estate in Prince George's County, Maryland, was 
selected for the purpose. 4 Pending the preparation of suitable quarters 
at White Marsh, the novices were sent in 1812 to St. Imgoes, Maryland, 
where they remained but a half year, the War of 1812 making it 
necessary for them to remove from so exposed a position The presbytery 
at Fredencktown, Maryland, was then fitted up as a novitiate, but 
lack of proper accommodations here, together with the inability of the 
mission through lack of funds to build promptly at White Marsh, 
soon brought the novices back to Georgetown. Thence they went in 
1815 to White Marsh, only to return to Georgetown at the beginning 
of 1818. But the following year the noviceship was again at White 
Marsh, where it remained until 1823. Father John Grassi, the energetic 
superior of the mission, had sought to solve the problem by the erection 
in Washington of a spacious building on F Street between Ninth and 
Tenth, but the building, though designed for a novitiate, was never 
used for that purpose. Under the name of the Washington Seminary 
it served first as a school of theology for Jesuit scholastics and later as 
an academy for boys, the first conducted by Jesuits in the city of 


The Maryland Mission in the early decades of the nineteenth cen- 
tury counted among its members a number of Belgians attracted to the 
New World as a missionary field of extraordinary promise. The credit 
of securing to the mission the services of these zealous workers belonged 
under heaven largely to a single clergyman, himself not a Jesuit, but 
a priest of the diocese of Bardstown in Kentucky. 

The name of Father Charles Nennckx is a distinguished one in the 
annals of the Catholic Church in the United States. A native of 
Herff elingcn, Province of Brabant, Belgium, where he was born October 
a, 1761, being the oldest of a Flemish family of fourteen children, he 
had a special calling to cultivate the wild and neglected field of the 
western American missions. The account he gives of the motives which 
induced him to leave his native Belgium and dedicate himself to a 

* Infra, note 27. 


life of tireless missionary activity overseas is a precious human document, 
eloquent of the piety and zeal for souls that characterized him through 

In accordance with the parable of the Gospel, "I first sat down and 
reckoned the charges that were necessary," counting my resources with the 
utmost circumspection, and after repeated meditations on the subject, I found 
the following motives for setting out 

i The danger of my own defection from the faith, either b} being per- 
verted or by falling into error, if I remained at home, and the almost 
[stc] uselessness of my presence in Belgium in the actual state of affairs 

2. The not unreasonable hope of promoting the honor of God under 
the severe menace "Woe to me if I have not preached the Gospel." 

3. The inclination of the American people toward the Catholic religion 
and the want of priests 

4. The urgent opportunity of paying my evangelical debt of ten thousand 
talents. A dignified sinner in my own land which abounds in advan- 
tages, I almost despaired of doing real penance and making due 
satisfaction Hence I concluded that I had to undeitake unavoidable 
toils and sorrows 

5 The favorable advice of competent peisons without whose counsel I 
did not deem it prudent to act. 6 

A missionary inspired by motives such as these and scrupulously 
following out the course which they dictated could not but exercise a 
ministry fertile in results. When Father Nennckx first arrived in Ken- 
tucky in 1805, he found that the task of ministering to the Catholic 
population of the state was being discharged by a single priest, the 
Reverend Stephen Theodore Badm, first Catholic clergyman ordained 
in the United States. The sturdy Fleming threw himself at once into 
the endless round of missionary duties that awaited him, and his btal^ 
wart, imposing figure, mounted on his famous mare, Printer, soon 
became a familiar sight in every Catholic settlement of the state- His 
robust physical constitution, his steady disregard of danger and pnva- 
tion, his splendid faith, his zeal for souls, his constant practice of volun- 
tary mortification, made him an unusually efficient worker in the vine- 
yard of the Lord For one achievement in particular his name is destined 
to endure in the history of the Catholic Church in America* He founded 1 
and for many years directed the congregation of nuns which, under the 
name of the Friends of Mary at the Foot of the Cross, or the Sisters 
of Loretto, continues to our own day to achieve a notable work in the' 
cause of Catholic education. 6 

5 Maes, The Ltfe of Rev. Charles Ntrinckx (Cincinnati, 1880), pp. 31-32. 

6 Anna C. Mmogue, Loretlo Annals of a Century (New York, 1912). 


But Father Nennckx was not satisfied to sacrifice his own person 
only on behalf of the struggling Church of America, he sought to 
induce others of his countrymen to make a similar oblation. He twice 
faced the perils of a transatlantic voyage to discharge business connected 
with his congregation of sisters as also to secure in his native Belgium 
the men and means urgently needed for his Kentucky missions. While 
in Belgium on the occasion of his first European trip, he addressed to 
his friends in August, 1816, a Flemish pamphlet, the publication of 
which was attended with important results. "Many Fathers of the 
Society of Jesus, now venerable for their age and their labors on the 
mission," declared an Amencan prelate, "have assured us that they 
owed their vocation to the reading of this pamphlet and that this forcible 
plea m favor of the American mission was the instrument m the hands 
of Providence to bring them to the shores of the New World." 7 A 
paragraph from Nermckx's pamphlet of 1816 will serve to indicate its 

Catholic Belgium has the enviable reputation, in Rome itself, of being 
for the last thnty years the vanguard of the Church against all heretical and 
philosophical innovations of these times, St. Francis Xavier expressed a de- 
cided wish to have Belgians for his East India missions and obtained some of 
decided ment. I am obliged to be satisfied with the want of them I learned 
with pleasuie that during my absence m Rome three of our neighborhood 
(environs of Nmove) left to join the Jesuits m Georgetown and that the 
Bishop of New Orleans succeeded in obtaining some in Italy and France, 
hut how little will he notice these few drops m our vast ocean. I have 
done what I could to induce some priests to accompany me and my con- 
science is at rest. May God dispose all things according to his holy will 8 

The appeal of the "Apostle of Kentucky" met with response in 
many quarters. When on May 16, 1817, he embarked for America at 
the island of Texel near Amsterdam on the brig Mars, Captain Hall, 
he was accompanied by nine or ten young men, some m orders, eight 
of whom were to enter the Jesuit novitiate at Georgetown. Of these 
recruits, three, James Oliver Van de Velde of Lebbeke near Dender- 
monde, Peter Joseph Timmermans of Turnhout and Peter De Meyer 
of Segelsem, were afterwards to labor as Jesuits m Missouri, the first 
two as priests, the last-named as a coadjutor-brother of the Society of 
Jesus. Some details of this voyage of Father Nennckx and his com- 
panions, typical of the discomforts and dangers of a sea-passage in the 
early nineteenth century, were afterwards put on record by Mr. Van 
dc Velde: 

T Maes, of. cit , p 307. 
p, 3*0* 


The passage was long, stormy and tedious. Scarcely had they entered the 
British Channel than a violent storm overtook them, and threatened to bury 
them in the deep One of the sailors was precipitated fiom the mast into the 
sea and drowned. All was fear and consternation on board This happened 
on Pentecost Sunday. For three days the vessel, without sails or niddei, was 
left to float at random, buffeted by the winds and waves During anothci 
storm she sprang a leak, which it was found impracticable to stop and for 
more than three weeks all hands had in turn to work at the pumps day and 
night without intermission Fortunately the captain had taken about a hun- 
dred German and Swiss emigrants as steerage passengeis, for without then 
aid it would have been impossible to save the vessel When thej, wei e neanng 
the banks of Newfoundland, the Mars was chased and finally boaided by a 
privateer The captain of this marauding schooner happened to be a Balti- 
morean by the name of Mooney, and far from manifesting any hostile 
intentions, seemed glad to have fallen in with one of his own townsmen As 
our provisions had become very scarce, Capt Hall bought sevcial bairels 
of biscuit and salt beef, some casks of fresh water, besides a quantity of 
dry fruits and wine, of which the privateer had an abundant supply, having 
but three days before robbed a Spanish merchant vessel that had left the 
West Indies for some port in Spam. 

Neither the captain nor the mate of the Mars weie great piofiaents in 
navigation Their calculations were always at variance, m consequence of 
which, after having passed the Azores, they steered dnect toward the tropic 
and then discovering that they were too far south they veered about nml m 
a few days found themselves on the great bank of Newfoundland Sailing 
almost at random the vessel one fine morning was at the point of iimnmg 
ashore on the northern pait of Long Island Finally the Chesapeak Ba\ \*as 
reached on the a6th July, and on the 28th she landed in the luihoi of 
Baltimore. 9 

Father Nerinckx had thus m a spirit of disinterested zeal performed 
the functions of a recruiting-agent for the Society of Jesus* Passing 
through Georgetown in 1815 on his way to Europe, he had been asked 
by the superior of the Maryland Mission to procure subjects* for the 
Jesuit novitiate m America. The eight Belgians who now joined the 
Society of Jesus at Georgetown in 1817 was Nennckx's answer to the 
superior's request. The Kentucky missionary was at all times warmly 
sympathetic to the Society. In Rome in 1816 he had solicited admission 
among its members, but the superiors of the order judged that his true 
vocation lay in other paths. Remaining outside of the Jesuit body, he 
exerted himself to reenforce its thinned-out ranks. "Forgetful of his 
own needs and of the sad neglect of the poor diocese of Bardstown," 
says his biographer in speaking of the Jesuit recruits of 1817, "he 

"Biographical Sketch of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Van dc Veldc," It/law 
Historical Review, 9: 59-60 


cheerfully sent those robust laborers where he thought they would do 
the most good, notwithstanding the fact that he had written so many 
letters complaining of the dearth of priests in his own missions and 
the imperious necessity in which he was of securing help." 10 

In 1820 Nermckx made a second trip to Belgium, the results of 
which were to be of the first importance for the expansion of Jesuit 
activity in the United States. When he returned in 1821, he had in his 
party most of the group of young men who two years later were to 
emigrate from Maryland to the West under the leadership of Father 
Charles Felix Van Quickenborne and there lay the foundations of the 
Society of Jesus m the Middle West. The story of the circumstances 
that united these devoted youths in the prosecution of a common desire 
and plan requires to be told m some detail 


In 1820 Father Nennckx, while on his way to Europe to collect 
funds for his Kentucky missions, visited Georgetown College in the 
District of Columbia, where he met the superior of the Maryland 
Jesuits, Father Anthony Kohlmann, who asked him to endeavor during 
his journey abroad to obtain recruits for the Society of Jesus in America, 
as he had done during his visit to Europe a few years before. 11 Father 
Nennckx had the pleasure of meeting again at Georgetown on this 
occasion the young Belgian, James Oliver Van de Velde, who had 
accompanied him to the United States in 1817. On leaving the college 
he bore with him a letter from Van de Velde addressed to> Judocus 
( Josse) Francis Van Assche of Saint- Amand-lez-Puers in West Flanders, 
Belgium, then a student m the yetrt semmavre of Mechlin. Van de 
Velde had been a tutor of young Van Assch^, who would gladly have 
accompanied him to America in 1817 if youth and lack of means had 
not at the moment stood in the way. But Van Assche by no means 
relinquished the idea of realizing his purpose to be a missionary m 
America though he kept the matter strictly to himself. 

10 Maes, of, cit , p 342. 

11 The account which follows is based for the most part on a manuscript narra- 
tive m the Missouri Province Archives and on Chap. XXVI of Maes's Nennckx. 
The narrative, from the pen of Father Peter De Smet, S J , appears to be largely 
an English rendering, with added details, of a Latin account of the origins of the 
Missouri Province (Historta Misstonts Missounanae) written by Father Peter 
Vcrhacgcn, S J. (A) . The account m Maes's Nennckx was contributed to that work 
by Father Walter Hill, SJ , who derived -his information at first-hand from Father 
Judocus Van Assche, an active participant in the events described. Additional de- 
tails concerning the mobilization of Nerinckx's Jesuit recruits of 1821 are in 
Laveille, Th* Life- of Father Peter De Smet (New York, 1915)* Cha P * 


Father Nermckx delivered Mr. Van de Velde's letter not to the 
young seminarian himself, but to the parents of the latter at their home 
in Saint-Amand-lez-Puers, about twelve miles distant from Mechlin. 
Their first impulse was to say nothing whatever to their son about it, 
but on second thought the father, taking a different view of the matter, 
set out for Mechlin, where he visited his son and delivered to him the 
letter from America, reminding him at the same time that there was 
much good to be done at home and that, moreover, Van de Velde, 
being, so he alleged, of a roving disposition, was no safe guide in such 
a venture. The young man said little in reply to his father's appeal, but 
read and reread eagerly the letter from his friend, who informed him 
of Father Nermckx's visit to Belgium and of the opportunity thus 
offered of accompanying the missionary on his return to America. 

During the summer vacation of 1820 Judocus Van Assche made 

every effort to get into communication with Nermckx, who conducted 

his affairs in Belgium under the veil of the utmost secrecy for fear of 

arrest by the government. William I, a Calvmist, was the reigning 

king of the Netherlands, which included at this period both Holland 

and Belgium, and his government, hostile to Catholics, was especially 

liable to interfere with any enterprise having for its aim the promotion 

of Catholic missions abroad. Hence, Nermckx remained more or less 

in hiding, though his presence in the country and frequent shiftmgs 

of residence were known to a few trusted friends. In his search for the 

Kentucky missionary young Van Assche was accompanied by John 

Baptist Elet, a student in the grand semtnatre of Mechlin, and, like 

himself, a native of Samt-Amand-lez-Puers. The pair first set out for 

the house of the Rev. Mn Verlooy or Ver Loo, once a professor in the 

^eUt senwnawe of Mechlin and subsequently its rector, who, it was 

expected, would be able to acquaint them with Nerinckx's whereabouts. 

On their way to the priest's house Van Assche revealed to his companion 

the design he cherished of going to America. Elet at once declared 

his intention of becoming a partner to the same adventure. Father 

Verlooy, on being interviewed, was unable to direct the young men 

immediately to Father Nerinckx's residence at the moment 1 but he 

made inquiries on their behalf with the result that the missionary was 

finally traced to a hospital in Dendermonde or Termonde, over which 

an aunt of his presided as superioress. Here Van Assche called alone 

on Nerinckx and presented to him as a token of identification the letter 

from Van der Velde which the missionary had himself carried from 

America. To the young man's petition that he be allowed to accompany 

the priest on his return to America, Nerinckx replied: "I can do nothing 

for you. My situation is precarious. I am suspected by the government 

authorities and I must be exceedingly cautious even to escape arrest and 


imprisonment. However, if you are resolved on going to America, it is 
not for me to prevent you doing so The vessel in which I came will 
probably start on its return trip next May " 12 

In September, 1820, Messrs Van Assche and Elet resumed their 
ecclesiastical studies in Mechlin Van Assche continued to keep his plans 
a profound secret even from the most intimate of his associates, but he 
finally divulged them to the three seminarians with whom he was 
lodging in a private house, the seminary buildings being taxed beyond 
capacity by the large number of students m attendance. One of the three 
who was thus made to share the secret, a M. Van Loo, had formerly 
been a pupil m a school in Turnhout conducted by a devout layman, 
Peter De Nef , he now urged Van Assche to visit the latter, assuring 
him that there was every reason to expect from M. De Nef the financial 
aid necessary to undertake the long voyage to America. De Nef had 
realized a large fortune as a linen-draper, but after the death of his 
wife, of whom he had a daughter now amply provided for, he with- 
drew from business to devote himself m some direct way to the service 
of God. He was a man at once of piety and culture and his first thought 
after his wife's death was to become a priest, a step he was dissuaded 
from taking by the advice of prudent counsellors. Abandoning, there- 
fore, the idea of entering the ranks of the priesthood, he determined 
to devote his energy and means to the noble work of preparing young 
men for that holy calling. He accordingly applied a portion of his 
wealth to the foundation and maintenance of a school m Turnhout, m 
which young men of slender means might receive the instruction needed 
m preparation for the more advanced studies of the seminary. In this 
school, the forerunner of the Jesuit College of St. Joseph in Turnhout, 
he himself discharged the duties of an instructor. 

Lodging in the same house in Mechlin with Elet was John Baptist 
Smedts of Rotselaer, also a student in the grand sewMnawe. To him 
Elet communicated the purpose he and his friend, Van Assche, enter- 
tained of going with Father Nennckx the following spring to America. 
Smedts lost no time in signifying his willingness to accompany them. 
Van Assche, on learning that another recruit had been gamed in the 
person of Smedts of Rotselaer, determined to take him as companion 
on his anxiously awaited visit to M. De Nef in Turnhout. The pair 
had with them a letter of introduction from their common friend, 
Van Loo. The pious layman received the young men with great cor- 
diality. He expressed approval of their plan, but regretted that lack 
of ready money made it impossible for him to defray the entire expense 
of the journey, a thing he should be glad to do under other circum- 

12 Maes, of. cit , p. 4.50. 


stances As it was, he gave them a generous contribution in mone\, 
besides furnishing them with letters o introduction to rectors of semi- 
naries and other pnests in Holland, from whom he assured them the} 
might expect willing and substantial aid Armed with these letters Van 
Assche and Smedts made a pedestrian journey to Holland, going first 
to the Seminary of Bois-le-duc, where they were kindly received by the 
rector, Father Van Gills, who spoke in their behalf to the professors 
and seminarians besides writing letters commendatory of their design 
to various pnests of his acquaintance. Some months later Van Assche 
and Elet canvassed the same district in Holland, but m spite of the 
energy they displayed m quest of funds, the amount they collected still 
fell short of what was required for the expensive transatlantic vojage. 

The original two, now joined by Smedts of Rotselaer, began to be 
reenforced by new accessions. Peter Verhaegen of Haeght, a }oung 
professor m the petit semnawe of Mechlin, learning of the projected 
missionary expedition to America under Father Nermckx's auspices, 
resolved to accompany it. A little later Felix Livmus Verrej dt of Diest, 
Francis de Maillet of Brussels, Joseph Van Horsigh of Hoogstraeten, 
all of them students in the grand semmawe of Mechlin, and Father 
Veulemans, also a student in the same institution, were made partners 
to the enterprise At a still later date, Peter de Smet of Termonde or 
Dendermonde joined the others, thus completing the personnel of the 
missionary band. Father Louis Donche, a Belgian Jesuit, was to sponsor 
the expedition and introduce the young men by letter to the superior 
of the Jesuit mission in America. 

At the corner of the rues Saint Jean and Des Vachcs m Mechlin 
was the house, bearing the sign Het Schip, of a wealthy tobacco mer- 
chant named Ketelaer, a friend of Nerinckx and his confidential agent. 13 
Ketelaer had business connections in Antwerp and Amsterdam and was 
thus kept informed regarding the ship in which Nenndcx intended to 
return to America. He also became the custodian of the money which 
Van Assche and his companions had gathered together and in his house 
they stored the baggage they were to take. About the middle of July 
word came from Ketelaer that the ship on which Father Nerincfcx was 
to take passage would sail from Amsterdam in August. At this news 
the aspiring missionaries left Mechlin behind them and set out at once 
in carriages in the direction of Antwerp. They travelled in different 
parties, one group being made up of Van Assche, Smedts, Elet and 
De Smet. A priest of Antwerp, Jean Baptiste Beulens, previously 
advised of their approach, furnished them with certain articles needed 
for the voyage, thus saving them the necessity of personally entering 

"Laveille, of. ctt. } p. 16 


that city. As it was especially necessary for the travellers to elude the 
vigilance of the police, who might upset all their plans by taking them 
into custody on pretext that they were evading military service, they 
made every effort on entering a town to conceal their identity. Not 
being provided with passports, which all occupants of public conveyances 
were required to present on entering a city, they alighted from the 
carnage in which they rode just before it reached the city gates, and 
swinging their sticks unconcernedly mingled with the people entering 
on foot. Finally, on July 26, they found themselves safe together in 
the appointed rendezvous in Amsterdam. Here, certain Catholic fami- 
lies, particularly four, by name Roothaan, Van Has, Van Damme and 
Koedijk, added to the funds which the missionary party had indus- 
triously gathered towards financing the journey overseas. 

Meanwhile, the parents of the young men came to hear of their 
startling design. Peter De Smet had borrowed money from a friend, 
who promptly reported the circumstance to the elder De Smet, adding 
the purpose for which it was to be used The latter, greatly shocked 
by the news, at once sent his eldest surviving son, Charles, to 
Amsterdam with instructions to prevail upon Peter to give over what 
appeared to be an ill-considered and Quixotic adventure and return to 
his family. Charles, on arriving at Amsterdam, at once sought the police 
to solicit information at their hands regarding his brother's lodging- 
place. But this information it was not in their power to furnish 5 the 
last thing the young men had in mind to do was to report their presence 
in the city to the authorities. Charles now began to traverse anxiously 
the streets of the city in the hope of a chance meeting with his brother. 
Curious to relate, the haphazard search proved successful. As Charles 
was crossing a bridge one day he suddenly came face to face with his 
brother, Peter. The latter invited Charles to his lodgings and listened 
quietly to the message he brought with him from his father. Then 
taking up his own defense, he pointed out to Charles the futility of the 
reasons that had been alleged to make him change his resolution. So 
well did he succeed in this that the brother came around completely to 
Peter's point of view and, instead of opposing his design any further, 
made him a gift in money for the contemplated journey u 

14 Idem^ p 19. The young men, some of them at least, left Belgium without 
taking formal leave of their families Laveille (p 15) comments thus: "It must 
be borne in mind, however, that they were driven by cogent reasons, a 
fact indicated by the words of Peter De Smet in a subsequent letter. c To have 
asked the consent of our parents would have been to court a certain and absolute 
refusal.* (From a letter of Father De Smet written towards the end of his life). 
Thus, rather than jeopardize a well-defined vocation it appeared advisable to limit 
the leave-taking to farewell letters written before sailing Whatever attitude this 
course of action would seem to indicate, it is beyond doubt that all of the young 


The position of the party in Amsterdam soon became an uncom- 
fortable one, there was every reason to fear that their presence in the 
city would shortly reach the ears of the authorities. Consequently, after 
observing St. Ignatius day, July 31, with the Jesuit fathers at their 
residence m Knjtberg, they had themselves conveyed in a small boat to 
the island of Texel, situated a few miles off the north coast of Holland. 
The ordinary conveniences of travel were lacking in the poor little craft 
and as a result the hours spent in crossing the Zuyder Zee to Texel were 
not without distress A stop was made for a brief spell at the island 
of Wienngen, where the travellers visited a Catholic church, leaving 
an alms with the pastor for Masses to be said that the vo>age before 
them might be safe and prosperous. 

Arriving at Texel, they found that arrangements had been made 
through Mr. Ketelaer and other friends to lodge them with a Catholic 
family. Meanwhile, Father Nerinckx himself had arrived incognito on 
the island, accompanied by Charles Gilbert, a Londoner, and James 
Vanrysselberghe, a Belgian, both of whom planned to become la>- 
brothers in a religious congregation in Kentucky. He put up at a house 
other than the one occupied by the young men of the party, with whom, 
to avoid publicity of any kind being given to their departure for Amer- 
ica, he declined to have any communication as long as the} remained 
on the island. Mr Verhaegen, however, on ascertaining where the 
missionary was housed, paid him a visit of courtesy. Though well meant, 
this proceeding elicited a reprimand from Nerinckx, who informed 
Verhaegen that he and companions by going about the island too freel} 
and talking aloud m an unguarded manner about their affairs, were 
exposing the enterprise m hand to failure. 

On August 15, while returning from services at one of the churches, 
the group were informed by a pilot whom they met on the waj that 
the Columbia, on which they were to take passage for America, was 
neanng the island. They hastened at once to their lodging-place to pick 
up their bundles and parcels and were soon occupying scats in the pilot- 
boat that conveyed them across the shoal-water to the Colttwbw. On 
entering the pilot-boat they learned that Father Nerinckx had already 
boarded the vessel and was concealed at its end. Presently, after 
the Columbia was under way, Nerinckx emerged from his hiding- 
place. Not until then, so it seems, had any of the young men, with the 

men were fully aware of the great sacrifice that was being impo cd on their 
parents. That Peter De Smct had a poignant rcali/ation of this we know from hh 
relative^ who tell us that to the end of his da\s the memorv oi hi** Jtpirturc 
remained like an open wound But, on the other hand, -we arc told tlut he wj 
never beset by any misgivings, because he always felt that he had obcjcd an im- 
perative call of duty." 


exception of Van Assche and Verhaegen, ever seen the missionary, so 
careful had he been while in Belgium to avoid all publicity and transact 
his affairs through intermediaries. Through the agency of Messrs 
Roothaan, Van Has and Schoop of Amsterdam berths for the travellers 
had already been secured on the Columbia. Moreover, an understand- 
ing had been come to with the captain as to the manner of taking them 
on board The C alumina was to put out slowly to sea under full sail 
and when she had made some distance, the pilot-boat, with Nermckx's 
party on board, was to come up to her. The arrangement was carried 
out successfully and on Assumption Day, August 15, 1821, all the 
members of the missionary party found themselves safe on the deck of 
the vessel that was to carry them to the shores of the New World. It 
was a source of lively satisfaction to these eager souls that their pious 
venture was launched under the auspices of the Virgin Mother. 15 

After a pleasant voyage of forty days the immigrants landed at 
Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon, September 23. The Negroes idling 
around the wharf proved a novel sight to them, they had never seen 
people of color m their native Belgium. Father Nermckx remained 
some time m Philadelphia, while the Belgian youths, after spending 
Sunday night on board the Columbia, took another boat the next day 
for Baltimore, which they reached on the same day. Here they were 
presented to Archbishop Marechal, who invited them all to remain m 
Baltimore, an invitation which was accepted by Father Veulemans and 
Mr. Van Horsigh. The remaining seven, Messrs. Van Assche, Elet, 
De Smet, Verreydt, Verhaegen, Smedts and De Maillet were bent on 
joining Mr. Van de Velde at Georgetown College, according to the plan 
conceived from the very first by Van Assche, who, on receipt of Van de 
Velde's letter, had taken the step which started the entire movement. 
Moreover, Father Nermckx in the course of the voyage had frequently 
advised them to become Jesuits as the surest means of realizing their 
ambition to become missionaries in America. They accordingly pro- 

15 The following excerpt under the caption, "1821 Short Sketch of our 
Itinerary," is from De Smet's ms nairative referred to in note 1 1 . "23 of July 
we left Belgium foi Holland. On the 26th we reached Amsterdam, via Breda, 
Bergen, op Zoom, Gorcum, Utrecht We pioceeded, in a small sailing ship, on 
the 3rd of Augubt, to the island Texel, and visited on the island Wiermgen. On 
the 1 5th of August we passed the Helder in a fish-boat and, late at night, went on 
board the Columbia. 

We came in sight of the Ferro Islands, belonging to Great Bntam From the 
North Sea we entered the Atlantic Ocean, (First Trip) crossed the New Foundland 
Banks Entered the Mouth of the Delaware nver and landed m Philadelphia, forty 
days after our departure from Texel. We proceeded to Baltimore by steamer to 
Washington and Georgetown by stage, and hence to the Novitiate at White-March 
[Marsh] in Prince George's County, Maryland. Distance 4520 miles" 


ceeded in carnages from Baltimore to Georgetown College, \\here on 
October 5, 1821, they were admitted into the Society of Jesus bv Father 
Anthony Kohlmann, superior of the Maryland Mission, who had 
pleaded with Nennckx m 1820 to obtain recruits for him in Belgium 

In the economic distress that prevailed at the moment in the Mar} - 
land Mission the admission of the newcomers required courage. It was 
in fact carried out against the advice of many of the Georgetown Jesuits, 
who saw in the arrival of the new recruits only a fresh financial problem 
added to the others which the mission was vainly trying to solve On 
the very day the candidates were accepted for the Society, Father Kohl- 
mann hastened to communicate the good news to the Father General 

Rev Father Donche, a Belgian, has sent us seven missionaries fiom 
Mechlin who reached heie yesteiday. Today, after undergoing examination, 
they went to the novitiate They are physically robust and with the best 
dispositions of mind All have finished syntax and know Latin sufficient!} 
well, most of them have also studied Poetiy, Rhetonc and Logic for some 
years, while others again have applied to Theology foi one or more }eais 
All with the help of God will become useful workers. I am hoping that our 
truly good Master will supply proper means of suppoit for so many iccunts 10 

The evening of the same day on which they left Georgetown behind 
them saw the candidates arrive at the Jesuit novitiate at White Marsh, 
Maryland Here on the morrow, October 6, 1821, they formal! j began 
the period of their probation. They found discharging the duties of 
superior and master of novices in White Marsh a fellow Belgian, Father 
Charles Felix Van Quickenborne, who had come to America a few \ ears 
before. By him and his socius or assistant, Father Peter Timmermans, 
one of Father Nermckx's earlier party of Jesuit accessions, the) were 
welcomed eagerly, and with something of ceremony, in the novices 1 
assembly room. For two days there was holiday in token of an event 
which seemed to promise so much for the future of the mission. A 
month was spent by the candidates in the Spiritual Exercises of St. 
Ignatius, after which they entered on the ordinary routine of novice- 
ship life 


The town of Peteghem near Demze in the diocese of Ghent saw 
the birth on January 21, 1788, of Charles Felix Van Quickenborne. He 

16 Kohlmann ad Fortis, October 5, 1821. (AA) [Fr. A. Kohlmann] "A gentle- 
man and a scholar of high icpute, the most affable Father I ever met. He received 
us with the most paternal affection. Every one of us, the one after the other, was 
called to his room," F. L Verreydt, S J, Memoirs (A). 


studied first the classics and then theology in the Seminary of Ghent 
and after his ordination to the priesthood was assigned to the ^peUt 
semmawe of Rottanen to teach the "humanities," 17 Here he remained 
four years until, on the suppression of the smaller seminaries by Napo- 
leon, the institution closed its doors He then returned to the Seminary 
of Ghent, resumed for a while the study of theology, and was later 
appointed vicar of the Walloon or French-speaking parish in Ghent. 
Meanwhile, Father Henry Fonteyne, the chief agent in the restoration 
of the Society of Jesus in Belgium, had opened a novitiate at the chateau 
of Rumbeke near Roulers. On July 15, 1814, twelve priests and semi- 
narians, most of them former students of Roulers or the Seminary of 
Ghent, met at the chateau to inaugurate the first Belgian novitiate of 
the restored Society. They were joined on April 14, 1815, by Father 
Van Quickenborne, who had resigned his parochial charge to follow 
what he felt to be a special call to the foreign missions. At Rumbeke 
and later at Distellberge near Ghent, whither the persecuting policy of 
the Dutch government had driven the Jesuits, he spent the two years 
of his noviceship. At Roulers the Society opened a college in which 
Father Van Quickenborne was employed for a while as an instructor, 
having among his pupils Ferdinand Helias D'Huddeghem, with whom 
he was to be associated again in later years in Missouri. 18 But the for- 
eign missions were still uppermost in his thoughts and so he petitioned 
the Jesuit General, Thaddeus Brzozowski, for permission to affiliate 
himself to the Mission of North America that he might preach the 
Gospel to the abandoned Indians. He had his wish, sailing from Am- 
sterdam and arriving at Georgetown College towards the end of 1817. 
Van Quickenborne was at this time but twenty-nine. A letter written 
to a Jesuit friend in the Netherlands shortly after his arrival at George- 
town throws an interesting light on the hopes and ambitions which then 
engaged him. A few extracts follow 

Nothing would have pleased me more on my arrival than to have been 
able to address a letter to your Reverence and thus afford what I knew would 
be a gratification to you and to our friends But during my stay in Baltimore 
no opportunity offered, and after resting a few days at Georgetown, during 
which I followed the Spiritual Exercises, the duty of writing, much against 
my will, was again unavoidably delayed I earnestly beg Your Reverence 
not to take it ill that you have had to wait so long, and I trust that the good 
news I am fortunate enough to send will make amends for my tardiness. 

In Helder I lodged in a Catholic inn at the sign of the "Sea-Castle," 

17 Ms, sketch of Father Van Quickenborne. (A) . The account in Peter 
De Smet, S J , Western Missions and Missionaries (New York, 1863), is brief, but 
the best available in print, 

18 Lebrocquy, Vie du R. P Helias D'Huddeghem (Ghent, 1878), pp. 32, 160. 


and I was received most couiteously by the Rev pastor of the place in whose 
church I twice offered Mass On the 25th of October, 1817, a feast of the 
Blessed Virgin, we set sail under her protection We first sighted Amenca 
on Dec 15, the octave of her Conception On the iSth, the feast of the 
Expectation of the Dehveiy of the same Virgin Mother of God, we safel} 
arrived at Baltimore, and on the 20th, also sacred to our most holy Patroness, 
we were warmly welcomed at Georgetown 

Great indeed is my debt of gratitude to God for the successful vojage 
with which he favored me Shortly after I embarked, it is tuie, the sea 
exacted its tribute, but this indisposition was succeeded by excellent health 
which still remains My fellow-passengers were unexceptionable, nor was I 
constrained to see or hear anything unwelcome save the blasphemies of the 
sailors and those but seldom What is more, I so won upon the Captain, who 
mingled with us on shipboard as one of ourselves, that he was alwajs at oui 
service In Baltimore he brought me to a Dutch acquaintance of his and a 
warm friend of the clergy Scarcely had I entered his house, when the pastoi 
of the neighborhood came m No sooner did he learn that I was a Jesuit than 
he took me by carriage to the Archbishop's house, where I found some of 
Ours So God's care of me was the greater the more destitute I seemed to be 

The name of my present abode then is Georgetown The Society has 
heie a college for Ours, with fourteen scholastics in the first year of phi- 
losophy, and a boarding-school for studious youths, with about one hundred 
boarders Georgetown is a small city, distant only half a league from Wash- 
ington, the capital of the United States. A more beautiful site could not have 
been chosen The novitiate is at present in the same house, but it is to be 
removed shortly to Washington, where a suitable building has been erected 

I found here seven of the nine companions of Rev. Father Nennckx. 
One of their number, Mr Van de Velde, is a young man of gieat promise. 
Rejoicing in their vocation, they all pursue the exercises of the novitiate most 
fervently to the edification of their brethren. The number of novices, reckon- 
ing also the coadjutor brothers, has risen to twenty-five, only txvo aio 
pnests It is my privilege to live with these dear brotheis of mine, and as I 
move among them I fancy that I am in the company of Aloysius, Stanislaus 
and Berchmans in our houses at Rome For I am in the midst of u'ligious 
brethren, whose rare modesty is a strong incentive to piety. And so great is 
the fervor of their devotion, so unfailing their exactness in the onsen ance 
of rules, so piompt the chanty with which they forestall one another, that 
one should deem the blessing of such companionship a marked favor from 
God. Your Reverence readily understands with what joy my soul is filled 
at sight of this religious spint. And my satisfaction was none the less thorough 
to note the fatherly anxiety of Superiors in securing a faithful compliance 
with religious discipline according to the Institute, and in furnishing the 
spiritual helps peculiar to the Society in behalf of their subjects who arc 
engaged in missionary labor away from home. This assuredly is not the least 
of the blessings found in the Society. 

A circumstance with which I should acquaint Your Reverence, and 
which should rejoice every zealous heart, is the favorable attitude of non- 


Catholics towards conversion and the excellent disposition of infidels for 
receiving the faith Consequently we may look to gathering fruit in plenty 
For the harvest is abundant and npe to fullness And so the favored spot 
which is blessed with a devoted laborer is the scene of many conversions 
Twelve years ago m Washington, instead of the present church was a large 
room merely, and there were but twelve of the Catholic communion. Now 
quite a handsome church has been built and the communicants number 
about three hundred There were hardly any Catholics in Georgetown twenty 
years ago Now there is a church, erected by Ours, which is nearly as large 
as the one at Kuilenburg, and too small for the number of the faithful 
There is absolutely no opposition from the Government. One may preach 
unmolested as often as he pleases. Neither is there any conflict with the 
secular priests In them and in the Bishops we find only friends . . . 

But this is not the only region where abundant fruit could be gathered, 
were there but priests There lie open those vast tracts where dwell the 
Indians or 'savages', as we call them fields once made fertile by the blood 
of many of our Fathers, but now ripe unto the harvest . . . 

The Indians of other provinces are no less desirous Last Sunday we 
were visited here by a venerable old man with whom I had a long talk m 
French He had lived with our Fathers on the missions among the savages 
and was now transacting some private business with the Government For 
fifty years he lived with the Illinois, the Iroquois, the Hurons, and others, 
among whom our Fatheis Lallamant, Jogues and others were slam When 
the missions had ceased upon the death of our Fathers, he himself used to 
baptize the children of the Indians and collect them into his house on 
Sundays for instruction. "It was a pleasure," he said, "to hear with what 
affection they used to speak of their Fathers " However, his business concerns 
forced him to leave them and they were depnved of all help Not long since 
he journeyed through their country and visited them. They brought him to 
an island and showed him there on a rock some blood which could not be 
washed away It was the blood of a Father whose name I have forgotten, 
but who was killed by the Indians m the last days of the old Society The 
murderers, they told him, had all met with a wretched and unhappy death 
They were very anxious to have the Fathers with them The English Gov- 
ernor (for some, though not all, live in parts subject to the English) sent 
them Protestant mmisteis They were asked whether they had wives, and 
when they replied that they had, the Indians said "Our black gowns who 
were with us before had no wives." They sent word, therefore, to the 
Governor that they would like to have the holy Jesuit pnests. 

Oh, when will that long desired time come when those many souls, 
ransomed by the precious blood, shall receive their liberty? It would be a work 
of zeal earnestly to beg their angel guardians not to cease praying to God 
that many pnests may soon come to set them free from their unhappy 
slavery and lead them to heaven. 

A no less favorable oppoitumty lies before us in the cities of building 
colleges where ciowds of youth may throng to receive instruction in knowl- 
edge and at the same time m the Catholic faith. From these youths, some 


hereafter may be raised to the priesthood to be pillars of the churches already 
founded and the future apostles to the lands of unbelievers If }ou happen 
to have any youths with vocations, they could be of the greatest service here 
and will be gladly welcomed They should have all the qualities demanded 
by the Institute for admission into the Society. Those who wish to become 
priests should have finished their classics and be proficient in Latin If they 
would be temporal coadjutors, besides indifference, a ceitam amount of 
prudence is required and talent sufficient to learn English Let them not be 
old or weak in health. 

If anyone should wish to make donations to help on our religion here, 
it would be above all for the greater gloiy of God that the money should be 
spent m the purchase of albs, of everything needed by priests, 01 of bells 

As I never forget you m my prayers, poor though they bt, or m m} 
Masses, I beg that you also, Reverend Father, will be good enough to 
remembei m your holy prayers and sacrifices to God, one now far fiom you, 
upon whom, when he was with you, you lavished a wealth of kindness and 
affection For thus with the help of your many prayers, I am confident that 
I shall be kept from danger and so powerfully strengthened that I shall come 
to that place where there will no longer be any fear of offending God, and 
where we shall have it likewise m our power to praise our Creator for ages 
upon ages. 19 

Though a Jesuit barely four years. Van Quickenborne was named 
master of novices towards the close of 1818. Father Kohlmann sug- 
gested the appointment, which was made by the Visitor of the Mary- 
land Mission, Peter Kenney. Van Quickenborne filled this position in 
the last days of the novitiate at Georgetown and accompanied the 
novices on their removal to White Marsh, where they were installed 
on November 13, 1819. Here, besides discharging the duties of supe- 
rior of the house and novice-master, he found time, despite uncertain 
health, for a wide range of ministerial work. A handsome stone church 
built on the White Marsh plantation was one of the many fruits of 
his energy and zeal. Every other week he rode on horseback to Annapo- 
lis, fifteen miles away, there to celebrate Mass and administer the sacra- 
ments to the slender congregation. No inclemency of the weather ever 
held him back, so one of his novices wrote m later years, though he 
sometimes left the house in so weak a condition that he could scarcely 
keep his seat in the saddle and seemed to be on the verge of a collapse 
as he rode along. But it was noticed that he usually returned greatly 
improved so that people were often heard to say, "Father Van Quicken- 
borne is going on a trip to spite the fever." With funds diligently 
collected on all sides he was enabled to build a church at Annapolis, 
something no one before him had ventured to take in hand. 

19 Tr m WL 9 30' 83, from Latin original 


It was a practice of Father Van Quickenborne to visit the houses 
of the non-Catholic neighbors of the novitiate with a view to interest 
them, in matters of religion. He was also a frequent visitor in the cabins 
of the Negro slaves and his ministry everywhere bore fruit. "We can- 
not state with accuracy/' wrote one of his White Marsh novices, "the 
number of souls whom he won back from heresy with the assistance 
of his Father Socius, Timmermans, but some idea of their number may 
be gathered from the fact that he ordered a feast to be spread for the 
novices, who were constantly praying for conversions, as often as the 
number reached a hundred, a result that was achieved at least once a 
year." Between the dates December 14, 1819, and April 6, 1823, 
Fathers Van Quickenborne and Timmermanns administered four hun- 
dred and eighty-five baptisms in and around White Marsh. 20 

Successful though he was in the field of the ministry, Father Van 
Quickenborne's inexperience as a Jesuit handicapped him in many ways 
as master of novices. Perhaps to be appointed such after only four years 
of Jesuit life was a tribute rather to the hopes entertained of him than 
to his actual qualifications for the office. In the spring of 1820 the Visi- 
tor, Father Kenney, gave this account of him to the Father General 
"He is pious and not unacquainted with our Institute, still, having been 
admitted to the Society but recently, he scarcely commands authority, 
a thing necessary for his office. He is of too vehement a temper and with 
little experience in governing others. He is an excellent religious, 
withal, and with time will become a spiritual father of great repute." 
Meantime, amid his varied activities at White Marsh Van Quicken- 
borne had never relinquished the hope of being sent to the Indians. 
He appealed to the General in December, 1821: "I use this occasion 
to beg of your Very Reverend Paternity that if you intend to send men 
to our Indians, you deign to make me one of the number So would you 
satisfy the desire which has been aglow in my heart almost from boy- 
hood and which I pray God daily may find its fulfillment " The answer 
returned by Father Fortis struck a note of prophecy, borne out by 
subsequent events, as to the future that awaited the Belgian novices at 
White Marsh "Meantime let your Reverence look upon your present 
station as your Indies and those lads of yours as little Indians, who are 
to be educated, not to a life of mere civilization and human culture, 
but to a life of holiness and perfection (a thing of greater moment 
by far) and to the spreading of God's glory and the empire of Jesus 
Christ. For so educated, these lads, whom I bless from afar with every 

20 Histoiia Misstoms Missowtanae. (A) White Marsh Records (G). "Conver- 
sions are pretty frequent Since last July 65 have been received into the Church 
and more than 100 are being prepared now 9> Van Quicfcenborne ad Fortis 3 De- 
cember 4, 1821. (AA). 


blessing, will become, so I hope, educators in their turn to numbers of 
Indians, while the fruit they gather in will be laid up to the merit of 
your Reverence " 21 


The hopes of the Maryland Mission for future development la\ 
in the little novitiate at White Marsh. But the course of that institution 
was running anything but smoothly Apart from the financial difficulties 
that were soon to disrupt it, the problem of recruiting was in no wa> 
of being solved. Candidates were indeed entering at intervals, but m 
many, if not in most cases, not of the type to pursue with success the 
Jesuit manner of life On one and the same day, November 12, 1819, 
five scholastic and three coadjutor-brother novices were admitted, all of 
whom subsequently withdrew from the Society. At the time of the 
arrival of the Belgian group of 1821 the novitiate counted six scholastic 
and four coadjutor-novices. Of the six scholastic novices, all of American 
birth, only two were to survive the customary two-year period of proba- 
tion. During the stay of the same Belgian group at White Marsh only 
a single accession to the novitiate, a coadjutor-novice of Irish birth, is 
chronicled, while at the time of their departure for the West m 1823 
no other scholastic candidates except themselves were on the novitiate 
roll Only at a later period was the recruiting of Jesuit novices from the 
Catholic youth of the United States to meet with success 22 

In December, 1821, Father Anthony Kohlmann, who had admitted 
the Belgian party to the novitiate, was succeeded as superior of the 
Maryland Mission by Father Charles Neale, called upon despite 
his advanced years and feeble health to undertake for the third time 
the duties of that office. In him the Maryland Jesuits found a living 
link with their predecessors of the eighteenth centurj, for Father 
Charles had entered the Society before the blow of the Suppression fell 
upon it In the capacity of chaplain he was now making his residence 
with a community of Carmelite nuns at Portobacco, St. Marys County, 
Maryland, some thirty-five miles distant from Washington To Porto- 
bacco, accordingly, went Anthony Kohlmann accompanied b\ Father 
Francis Dzierozynski, a Polish Jesuit lately arrived m America, to 
inform Father Neale of his appointment and to deliver to him the 
letters-patent from the General which Dzierozynski had brought with 
him from Rome. The latter, who was to become a conspicuous figure 
in the pioneer history of the restored Mission of Maryland, was sent 

21 Kenney ad Bnzozowski, March 4, 1820; Van Quickcnborne ad Fortk 
December 4, 1821, Fortis ad Van Quickenborne, March 8, 1822* (AA). 

22 White Marsh Records. (G). 


by the Father General to America that he might eventually succeed 
Charles Neale m the office of superior. Already in May, 1822, Dziero- 
zynski was at White Marsh with the Georgetown rector, Enoch Fen- 
wick, as his socius or assistant, making the official visitation of the house 
under commission from Father Neale, whose failing health incapaci- 
tated him for the routine business of his office. A report of this visita- 
tion forwarded by Father Dzierozynski to the General, Aloysius Fortis, 
affords intimate glimpses of Van Quickenborne and his novices 

Rev. Father Van Quickenborne, the Master of Novices, discharges the 
duties of his office with satisfaction. He is a man of solid virtue, familiar with 
the Institute and zealous for the spirit of the Society The novices go to him 
with confidence in their doubts and temptations and find consolation and 
strength in doing so Instructions and conferences he gives regularly, espe- 
cially on the proper understanding and practical observance of the Rules He 
knows the disposition, the conduct and the progress of his subordinates. He 
instructs the novices how to learn and teach the catechism He writes to his 
Superiors at the appointed times He is not as strong as Belgians are generally 
said to be ... The novices, praise be to God, make satisfactory progress. 
They love their vocation and the Society, m which they wish to live and die 
in that particular state and grade which Holy Obedience has m store for 
them. All the scholastics are endowed with the necessary talents Healthy 
and cheerful, they are m love with perfection, mortification and discipline. 
The recently arrived Belgians, about whom your Paternity already knows, 
are also a fine set, modest and fitted for apostolic labors They learn English 

The farm on which they live is very suitable as a place for the novitiate. 
It has quite a pretty chuich close to the house, also an ascetery and dormitory 
not so uncomfortably arranged, a good garden and pleasant walks. They 
live indeed in poverty as to food and clothing, especially under the circum- 
stances m which all our tempoial affairs are now to be found, but they are 
learning to put up with it willingly. 23 

Not many months had elapsed since the arrival of the Belgians 
when White Marsh found itself tottering under a load of debt with 
almost no available funds to meet the living expenses of its inmates. 
"The novices," one of their number recalled in later years, "found 
themselves deprived of even necessaries in food and clothing. Often, 
when they sat down at table, there was scarcely food enough for half 
their number. Things came to such a pass that Father Rector was put 
to the necessity of begging flour and meat from the neighbors while 
the use of coffee and sugar was entirely given up." 

23 Dzierozynski ad Fortis, May 12, 1822 (B). "Ascetery" is an assembly-hall 
for the novices. 


In September and again in December, 1822, Van Quickenborne 
acquainted Father Fortis with the situation at White Marsh. 

Reverend Father Superior thinks that all the novices ought to be sent away, 
for, as he says, we haven't the means of supporting them. Father Marshall 
[procurator] says the same. But the execution of the plan is delayed until 
Reverend Father Superior receives an answer from your Pateinity. Mean- 
time, some of them will take their vows The novices have borne 
themselves remaikably well m all those privations though sometimes owing 
to the procurator's carelessness, not his lack of means, they had to go to bed 
hungry for lack of bread They have a very great love for the Society and 
a confidence in their vocation quite out of the common, and all of them are 
proceeding well m spirit. 

When I wrote last there was a good deal of talk here about dismissing 
all the novices, especially the Belgians, owing to lack of means The no\ ices 
all asked money from their parents, Reverend Father Superior having so 
directed them, but none of them have so far received anything and I fear 
Reverend Father Superior will again get the idea of dismissing them The 
majority are excellent religious, although seven of them are foreigners, they 
now speak English very well. The novices at present number 8 altogether. 
All are scholastics of the second year, no one having been admitted this yeai, 
and there is scarcely any hope that anyone from our schools will apply for 
admission the coming year 

On the ground that the Maryland Mission "had more members 
than it could support/' Father Neale had ordered that the novices, on 
completing the customary two years of probation, were not to be per- 
mitted to bind themselves by the usual vows. Owing, however, to 
entreaties made on their behalf by Van Quickenborne, three of the 
young men, one a scholastic, the other two coadjutor-brothers, were 
admitted to the Jesuit vows in i822. 24 

For the financial crisis that had thus supervened m the affairs of the 
Maryland Mission, the native American Jesuits saw an explanation in 
the alleged unskilful management of the mission's temporalities by 
Father Anthony Kohlmann during the four years that he held the office 
of superior. Moreover, Father Van Quickenborne appears to have been 
held accountable in large measure for the critical state of the temporal 
concerns of White Marsh. The mission debts, so Father Francis Neale 
explained to the General, "were incurred by members of the Society 
not accustomed to the country," who inconsiderately made large pur- 
chases of supplies on credit. 25 On the other hand, incompetency was 

24 Van Quickenborne ad Fortis, September 4, 1822, December 12, 1822. (AA). 

25 Francis Neale to Fortis, March, 1824. (G). "Much of our debt is ascribable 
to them [the Belgian novices]. The present Superior, Father Charles, is out of all 
patience at it and indeed he has reason to be so; for why should we be so liberal 


alleged in the case of Father Adam Marshall, procurator of the mis- 
sion, and of some of the coadjutor-brothers associated with him in the 
management of the Jesuit properties It is difficult to determine with 
anything like precision the actual cause or causes of the economic crisis 
that was now besetting the Maryland Mission, if indeed it be worth 
while trying to settle the point at all. 

Letters written at this period by Father Neale to Father Marshall 
afford intimate details of the situation that had developed at White 
Marsh. The superior gave orders to Van Quickenborne to leave the 
management of the farm entirely in the hands of Father Marshall and 
Brother Marshall, "and he being a good religious man," so the superior 
comments, "will no doubt comply with them." 

[June 4, 1822]. I have written to Rev. Van Quickenborne for the 
novices to use their own clothes, that the Regulations of Father Kenney in 
oui distressed circumstances cannot be followed for the present, that you must 
judge of the necessities and provide as well as your means will permit you. 
. . I have desired him to dismiss the printer and Mr. Smith and that will 
mean two less to feed. ... As for taking any more lay-brothers it is out of 
the question unless they be very extraoi dinary members able to make their 
living and something more for ourselves 

[June n, 1822]. I shall write to Rev. Van Quickenborne and forbid 
him to meddle with the plantation affairs, that you have the sole manage- 
ment and care of providing them with necessaries, that the novices must 
wear their own clothes and that they must apply the money they receive for 
Masses towards their own suppoit. You must visit them often and see what 
they ically want and not be too hard on them. As to sending every week to 
Annapolis for fresh fish, it cannot be allowed Let salt cod be procured from 
Baltimore, which with herrings and pudding and what fish they can catch 
with hook and line, which will be an amusement for his novices, will be a 
sufficiency for fasting days. 

[July 8, 1822], I am as adveise to the banks as you are Never apply to 
them or let anyone under your control do it without the greatest necessity, 
such as the want of bread which cannot be procured otherwise Altho' on 
account of the foimer extravagances[ ? ] W[hite] M[arsh] deserves nothing 
in reality, still I would have them supplied with a few quintals of codfish 
for fasting days 

[July 22, 1822]. Do not be down-hearted If all the debts cannot be 
paid this year, they may next or the year after ... As for dismissing the 
novices, [it] is a point requiring much consideration 

[July 30, 1822], I understand the scholastics at Georgetown are in want 
of clothes. Furnish them therefore and get them made and retain the 

m receiving foreigners among us when we want the necessities of life even for our 
own native members when we are adding daily to our debts and when there is 
scarcely a possibility now left of ever being able to extricate ourselves from them." 
Benedict Fenwick to George Fenwick, January 14, 1823. (B). 


amount from what you intended to pay the College. No handle should ever 
be given to our young men for want of necessities, it exposes them to loss 
of vocation. 

[September 4, 1822] They must have some meat at the White Maibh, 
absolutely must Let some tobacco be sold for that purpose Ha\e they no 
live stock on the place? 20 

Meantime, as the specter of want hovered over the White Marsh 
novitiate, the property on which it stood had become an object of con- 
troversy between the Maryland Jesuits and Archbishop Marechal of 
Baltimore. That prelate had taken the position that a considerable por- 
tion of the Jesuit property in Maryland had been given, by legacj or 
gift, not to the Society of Jesus in its individual capacity but to the 
Catholic Church in Maryland. Basing his contention on this and othei 
grounds, he accordingly preferred a claim before the Roman author ities 
for the White Marsh plantation, having selected this property because it 
was easy to reach from Baltimore. "If I have desired," the prelate wrote, 
"that the White Marsh plantation be conveyed to the see of Baltimore, 
it is not because the land at White Marsh is of greater fertility and 
value, but because it is only ten leagues distant from Baltimore, while 
Bohemia, St. Inigoes, etc , are situated near the limits of Maryland, 
that is, so far away that the Archbishop of Baltimore can make a visi- 
tation of these parts scarcely once a year. This the Sacred Congregation 
can see for itself by casting a glance at the map of Man land." J7 The 

J6 Charles Neale to Marshall, June 4, 1822, etc (B). 

27 Thomas A. Hughes, S J , Htrtoiy of the Sutiety of Jtw* ;/; Xutf/t 4m?nca, 
Colonial mid Federal, Documents, 1 550 White Marth wis axqmud in the 
Maryland Jesuits m 1729 as a legacy from James Can oil, kin-man of Chailes 
Carroll of Carrollton The following description oi the place is In Father Fidcle 
de Grivel, SJ, master of novices at White Marsh m the eaih thiitie "While 
Marsh, formerly called Cairoll's Burgh (Cairolshuig), is situated on a lull about 
one-hundred feel high, on the top is a fine church of stone, 95 h\ $6 feet Besides 
the church, theie are irame buildings for twenty No\ iee* and Uu> MI^HWUS with 
two spare looms for guests, kitchen, refectory, stable, an OK haul, a gat den, 
nothing else The top of the hill which is comenientl) planted \\ith trees nia\ 
be five hundred feet long and foui hundred wide almost lound Fistwaul, at the 
foot of the hill, is a plain, from west to east, half a mile broad and a mile* and a 
half long, with meadows, fields of tobacco, some wheat, a lutle more ne, plcntt 
of Indian corn The soil is too sandy, fit only foi tobacco, coin and unejardsj kut 
of the last we have as yet none. By and by we will plant them and lhc\inc& will 
succeed. Half a mile from the hill, eastward and over the plain run* the Patuxent, 
from north to south, with a good wooden bridge called Priest's Bridge ; it i on the 
road to Baltimore and Annapolis White Marsh is fouitcen milts irom the latter 
town, thirty-three irom the former, twenty-two from Washington westward, 
twenty-five from Georgetown, seventeen southwest fiom Upper Marlborough and 
eight from Queen Ann southward It has about four thousand aues, of which one 
thousand is a very pooi sandy soil." WL y 10 248 


suit was referred by Pius VII to a commission consisting o Cardinals 
Castiglione, Fesch, and Delia Genga, who reported in favor of the 
Archbishop. A brief was thereupon issued by his Holiness under date 
of July 21, 1822, requiring the Jesuits to render up White Marsh, or 
as much thereof as did not exceed two thousand acres, to the Arch- 
bishop of Baltimore. The brief having reached America in the fall of 
1822, its contents were at once communicated to the Maryland Jesuits. 
Induced by various considerations that appeared to militate against the 
validity of the document or at least the immediate necessity of executing 
it, the Jesuits resolved to follow a course which in good faith they 
judged to lie open to them and to suspend action in regard to it until 
an adequate statement of their side of the question could be presented 
at Rome. The merits of the controversy have been appraised by an 
official historian of the Society of Jesus. 28 Here it suffices to note that 
the strained relations between Archbishop Marechal and the Maryland 
Jesuits which resulted from the controversy and other circumstances 
were to be reflected in the attitude taken by the prelate towards the 
project, soon to be mooted, of a Jesuit mission in the trans-Mississippi 

As to the White Marsh novitiate, struggling painfully with the 
problem of material upkeep and located on a property thus become a 
subject of painful litigation, the closing of it, at least temporarily, 
seemed to offer the only avenue of escape from what was fast becoming 
an intolerable situation. The measure had been suggested as early at 
least as Father Dzierozynski's visitation of White Marsh in May, 1822, 
the opinion being expressed by him on that occasion that the step could 
scarcely be taken without permission of the Father General. Late in 
July of the same year the superior, Charles Neale, wrote to Father 
Marshall- "As for dismissing the novices it is a point requiring close 
consideration." Neale had already informed the General, Fortis, that 
unless permission were granted to receive tuition-fees from the students 
attending the Jesuit day-school in Washington, the novitiate would have 
to close its doors. The letter of the Jesuit rule requires that instruction 
be given gratuitously ; but conditions in the United States, as experience 
was to demonstrate, made it impossible to put the provision into effect 
and, with the approval of the Holy See, the acceptance of tuition-fees 
became the recognized practice in Jesuit schools in this country from 
the thirties on. In July, 1822, Father Neale explained the situation to 
Father Dzierozynski 

So far I have received no letter from Reverend Father General. I have 
written to him twice that we are absolutely in need of a dispensation from 

1 Hughes, of. cit , Doc. 2 1030 and 


the Supreme Pontiff for our Washington schools etc , that without such 
relief the House of Probation will have to be closed and the scholastics sent 
to his Paternity [ ? ] or else to the fields there to piovide themselves food 
and clothing by their sweat and labor, that this is not a fable begotten of 
feai but so certain that before receiving his answer I cannot m conscience 
admit to the vows the novices who have finished their piotution, that the 
situation in non-Catholic countries is quite different from that m Catholic 
ones, for in the latter, kings, powerful princes and cities make foundations 
and alms are bestowed, whereas here all foundations have to be built up 
solely by our efforts and industry. 29 

Neale's appeal to the General for permission to accept tuition-monej 
was answered in the negative. Five years later the Washington Acad- 
emy conducted by the Jesuits closed its doors for lack of means to carry 
on the institution. Meantime, at least as early as the opening months 
of 1823, the decision had been taken to close the novitiate. "The reason 
that sufficed to close the novitiate," so Father Fortis, the General, was 
to write years later to a Maryland superior, "was distress, and well did 
Father Kohlman realize how acute that distress was when at White 
Marsh he had nothing else to live on but potatoes and water." 30 Fol- 
lowing close upon the determination to suspend the novitiate^ a new and 
unexpected turn was given to the entire situation by the appearance 
on the scene of Bishop Du Bourg. 

29 Charles Neale ad Dzierozynski, July i, 1822 (B) Cf wftj > Chap IX, 5 

30 Fortis ad Dzierozynski, January 23, 1827 (B) 



Louis William Valentine Du Bourg, second Bishop of Louisiana and 
the Flondas, was the human agent chiefly instrumental in starting the 
Jesuits of the Middle United States on their way. 1 At his invitation 
the charter members of that group made their first settlement in the 
trans-Mississippi country 5 from his hands they received as a gift the 
land which made that settlement possible, through his agency they 
came into possession of the property on which they built the first of the 
colleges that were to rise under Jesuit auspices m various localities of 
the Middle West. By wise counsel and fnendly encouragement, and, 
when his slender resources permitted it, by material assistance, he sought 
to tide the pioneer Jesuit colony over the period of distress that fol- 
lowed its entrance into Missouri in 1823. Nor did his interest in the 
missionary venture he had fathered come to an abrupt end when under 
the pressure of painful circumstances he withdrew in 1826 from his 
American field of labor and retired into France. As Bishop of Mon- 
tauban he sought with characteristic energy to enlist the aid of the court 
and ministry of Charles X in the work of the Society of Jesus in mid- 
America. In fine, he wrote from France to its superior in the United 
States that he would not consider the well-nigh fifteen years of his 
residence in the Mississippi Valley to have been ill-spent though he 
had nothing more to show for his labors in that part of the world than 
the successful issue of the Jesuit Mission of Missouri In 1827, only 
four years after the establishment of the mission, Bishop Du Bourg 
was being called its "founder" by the superior of the Jesuits in North 
America. 2 

1 Bishop Du Bourg often made use in his correspondence of the style "Bishop 
of New Orleans" and is so designated at times m papal documents The diocese of 
Louisiana, to which Florida was annexed by papal brief, was erected in 1793 with 
Rt. Rev, Luis Penalver y Cardenas as its first incumbent Rt Rev. Francis Porro, 
appointed successor to Bishop Penalver y Cardenas, died in Rome as Bishop-elect 
of Louisiana and the Flondas The diocese of New Orleans proper was erected 
only in 1826 conjointly with that of St Louis 

2 "N'y tut il que cela d& gagnl, ;<? ne croirws fas avoir mal employe les 15 
emnees que f ai passes daws ce pays-la." Du Bourg a Van Quickenborne, Montau- 



Louis Valentine Du Bourg was a native of Santo Domingo in the 
West Indies, having been born at Cape St Frangois in that island, 
February 14, 1766 At an early age he was sent to France to be edu- 
cated It was the last stage of the pre-revolutionary period and the 
social graces of the old regime, to which at a later date even confirmed 
radicals like Talleyrand were to look back wistfully, were still an actual 
educational influence. Upon Du Bourg the impress of his French train- 
ing was sharp and lasting, showing itself in an ardent piety as also in 
a refinement and courtesy of manner and an easy, tactful address that 
distinguished him in after life Having made his theological studies at 
the Seminary of St Sulpice in Pans and received hoi) orders, he was, 
though not as yet a member of their congregation, placed b> the Sul- 
picians at the head of the new institution begun by them at Issj near 
Pans. He was discharging the duties of this honorable position when 
the storm of the Revolution broke over his head, scattering the inmates* 
at Issy and sending him for shelter to his family at Bordeaux. Even 
here he was not safe from pursuit by the revolutionary officials, and 
so, taking counsel of prudence, he made his way out of France, going 
first to Spam, and afterwards to America, which he reached at Balti- 
more in December, 1794. Received here with open arms by Bishop 
Carroll, he found established m this American refuge his old friends, 
the Sulpicians, into whose ranks he was himself admitted the j ear after 
his arrival in Baltimore. 3 

ban, January 26, 1828 (A) "Hu/us mimonts fundafoi " D/ieio/\n4,i ad Foitis, 
May 10, 1827 (AA). 

3 R A Clarke, Lives of the Deceased Bishops of the Cat fain Chwth m the 
United States (New York, 1872-1888), I 205 et seq The account in the text 
of Du Bourg's career previous to his consociation draws chiefly on this *ouiee, \\huh 
is based on contemporary notices m the Lyons ArmaJes and the CMhrJir Al/faw*<* 
Cf also Shea, Catholic C hutch m the Untied States (Akron, O, 1892), }* 670, 
and Herbermann, The Sulfiaans in the- United States. An illuminating portrajal 
of Du Bouig, the man, drawn almost entirely from contemporary letters and docu- 
ments, is available in a study by Charles L Souvay, C M , "Around the St. Lout-* 
Cathedral with Bishop Du Bourg, 1818-1820," Pastotal Bhtt (St. Louis), Januarj, 
1918, p 8 et seq , also, The Western Watchman (St Ix>uis)> October, 1917 
Other first-hand information regarding Du Bourg's American episcopate i^ con- 
tained in Souvay'b article, "Rosati's Elevation to the See of St Louis," Cstfaltt 
Historical Review (Washington), 3: 3, as also m notes supplied by the amc scholar 
to the text of Du Bourg's letters m the St Louis Catholic Htsttoictl Rfrttee, 
passim. Souvay's pen-picture of Bishop Du Bourg notes "the wonderful amiability 
which shines forth fiom those kindly eyes of his, his genial countenance, his 
cordial courtesy, the very tone of his voice, soft, jet manly, and that uniailing 
tact the infallible birthmark of one to the manner born which naturally prompts 
him to say to every one, always in a most simple, unaffected, gracious language, 
sometimes tinged with a shade of the purest Attic wit, just the thing which every 
one likes to hear. He has truly, as Father De Andreis says, the donum 


To the Abbe Du Bourg the education of youth was a field of labor 
particularly congenial and in cultivating it the first years of his residence 
in America were spent. For nearly three years, 1796-1798, he was 
president of Georgetown College, having been assigned to this post 
through the influence of Bishop Carroll, who was impressed from the 
first with the brilliant attainments of the young ecclesiastic. At Havana 
he attempted, in company with the Abbes Flaget and Babade, to found 
a Sulpician college The Spanish government looked with disfavor upon 
the project and he returned to Baltimore, there to open St Mary's 
School, the nucleus of the later St Mary's College The impression 
made by Du Bourg and his Sulpician associates on the best Catholic 
element of Cuba during their stay in that island now bore fruit. So 
many sons of Cuban planters flocked to the Baltimore school that in 
1803 the Spanish government, fearful of the democratic tendencies 
of an education received under American auspices, sent a government 
vessel to the United States with orders for all the Cuban school-boys 
to return to their own country The institution survived this mishap, 
flourished for a while, and then declined Du Bourg's plans outran his 
means and financial embarrassment followed. 

Educational projects did not by any means exhaust the energies of 
this enterprising clergyman. He found time to engage m controversy, 
taking issue on one occasion with the Presbyterian Synod of Baltimore, 
which had attacked St Mary's College and the faith it professed He 
took a lively interest in Bishop Carroll's project of a new cathedral, 
suggesting the choice of the present site and, when money was needed 
to purchase it, collecting ten thousand dollars m the course of a single 
week from the Catholic poor of Baltimore. He organized societies of 
mutual aid and benevolence among the Catholic men of the city and 
was active m securing proper spiritual care for the Catholic colored 
population, his efforts m this direction having much to do with the 
origin of the Oblate Sisters of Providence. 

his French has, of course, the classic purity and sobriety of refined ecclesiastical 
French of the last quarter of the eighteenth century, and at the same time he has 
a most perfect command of Enghbh All, from Bishop Carroll a good judge 
down, have long held him as an accomplished orator When you look at his regulai 
features, you notice at once in his complexion much of that indescribable some- 
thing which the Italians call motbietezz. an untranslatable word, you realize that 
all that distinction, that perfect gentlemanlmess, that attractiveness, that amiable 
self-con tiol, natural as they are, are accompanied by a wonderfully keen sensitive- 
ness ; and no wonder, since the prelate is a native of San Domingo , he has inherited 
all the temperamental characteristics of the West Indies Creole He is naturally 
clever, as every well-born West Indies Creole is, and thanks to the thorough 
classical education which he owes to that prolific nursery of sterling clergymen 
St. Sulpice, he is undoubtedly one of the most highly cultured men of America/' 


No achievement of the Abbe Du Bourg during his residence in 
Baltimore is more deserving of record than the part he took m the 
foundation of Mother Seton's Sisters of Chanty He met Mrs. Seton 
for the first time at St. Peter's Church in New York, where she 
acquainted him with her plan of going with her children to Canada 
and there entering a sisterhood. Suggesting to her the practicability of 
her realizing the same plan in the United States, he invited Mrs. 
Seton to come to Baltimore, received her two sons into St Mar>'s 
College and watched with paternal care over the little group that had 
gathered about her until in 1809 it was organized on his advice as a 
religious community. Du Bourg was appointed b} Archbishop Carroll 
its ecclesiastical superior and when Emmittsburg was chosen for its 
permanent home he went there in person to select and purchase the 
property. "The Rev. M. Du Bourg," Mother Seton wrote from Em- 
mittsburg in December, 1811, "has exerted himself continually for us 
and bestowed all he could personally give." 4 

Eighteen years of educational and ministerial activity in the city 
of Baltimore had passed away when the scene of Du Bourg's labors 
shifted to the Mississippi Valley. That part of our national domain 
was then taking its first steps towards the splendid material growth 
that was to mark its future. No event in American historj, after the 
adoption of the Federal Constitution, has done more to direct and shape 
the destinies of the country than the act by which President Jefferson- 
acquired from France the magnificent sweep of territory known a*s 
Louisiana. With the Louisiana Purchase was born the trans-Mississippi 
West, and for the philosophy of our national history, as a distinguished 
student of that history has pointed out, one must look to the influence 
which the West has had upon the development of the American state/* 

The state of religion in the Louisiana Territory at the period of its 
acquisition by the United States in 1803 was distressing. The diocese 
of Louisiana and the Flondas had been erected m 1793 with Bishop 
Penalver y Cardenas as its first incumbent. That prelate, disheartened 
by the ill-success of his ministry, withdrew in 1801 to Guatemala, to 
which diocese he had been transferred by the Holy See. During the 
period 1801-1806, two vicar-generals, Fathers Thomas Hassett and 
Patrick Walsh, were successively in authority at New Orleans. The dio- 
cese was subsequently placed under the jurisdiction of Bishop Can oil. 

4 The most authentic account of Du Bourg's activities in connection with this 
institute of nuns is in Sister Mary Agnes McCann, History of Mothei S?ton*s 
Daughters > the Sisters of Chanty of Cincinnati^ Ohio (3 \ols,, New York, 1915- 

5 Woodrow Wilson m Meie Literature (Boston, 1896), echoing prolvMy F, J. 
Turner's classic hypothesis on the significance of the frontier 


Father John B. David, a Sulpician, and Father Charles Nerinckx were 
m turn nominated to the vacant see. Neither could be brought to accept 
the post, delicacy of conscience, it was reported, making them both 
shrink from the responsibility. Meantime the interests of religion in 
Louisiana became severely menaced by the prolonged vacancy in the 
episcopal see. In the crisis Carroll, now archbishop, turned to the Abbe 
Du Bourg. By virtue of Apostolic Letters he appointed him m 1812 
administrator apostolic of the diocese of Louisiana and the Flondas. 
The brief for his appointment as bishop was not forwarded, as Pius VII, 
then a victim of persecution at the hands of Napoleon, had resolved to 
issue no more papers of the kind until he was free to take counsel with 
his cardinals. Du Bourg, m deference to the wishes of his venerable 
bishop, accepted the appointment and towards the end of 1812 arrived 
m New Orleans. "Religion was in a most deplorable condition," says a 
contemporary account, "but a few clergymen distributed over its vast 
territory, scarcely a church in which the faithful could assemble to hear 
the words of eternal life, no institution that offered an asylum to the 
innocent and penitent heart, no seminary of learning to dispense the 
blessings of classical and religious instruction, the child reared m ignor- 
ance and forgetfulness of duty, the adult debarred from a participation 
of the sacraments, all classes of society m a woful indifference upon the 
subject of their eternal welfare 5 such was the scene of desolation he 
[Du Bourg] was compelled to witness." 6 

The opposition which the newly appointed administrator met with 
from recalcitrant priests and their abettors on his arrival at New Orleans 
made him slow at first to assert his position as head of the diocese. 
A circumstance that contributed not a little to commend his authority 
was the patriotic course he pursued on occasion of the battle of New 
Orleans. On December 18, 1814, he issued a pastoral enjoining public 
prayers m the churches of New Orleans and calling upon his flock to 
implore the protection of heaven, "while our brave armies, led by the 
hero of the Flondas, prepare to defend our altars and firesides against 
foreign invasion." After the battle a public service of thanksgiving was 
celebrated m the cathedral, the victorious General Jackson being met 
at the door by the administrator and welcomed in an eloquent address. 

A residence of three years in New Orleans convinced Du Bourg 
that the priests, missionaries, and religious communities so sorely needed 
for the upbuilding of the diocese would have to be obtained from 
Europe. He therefore went abroad early in 1815. In Rome he laid 
the circumstances and needs o his diocese before the Sovereign Pontiff, 
Pius VII. Archbishop Carroll having requested Du Bourg's appomt- 

6 Catholic Almanac, 1839. 


ment to the vacant see of which he was already administrator, the Pope 
named him Bishop of Louisiana and the Flondas, an honor \\hich the 
Sulpician accepted in a spirit of obedience. He received episcopal conse- 
cration in Rome on September 24, 1815. From that time until his 
departure for America Bishop Du Bourg was emploj ed in the difficult 
task of procuring men and means for his destitute diocese As a result 
of his efforts he enlisted a number of recruits, conspicuous among whom 
were a group of Lazansts or members of the Congregation ot the Mis- 
sion under the leadership of the saintly Father De Andrew, and five 
rehgteuses of the Society of the Sacred Heart with the Venerable 
Mother Philippine Duchesne at their head. 


The story of Du Bourg's episcopate up to 1823 discloses repeated 
attempts on his part to secure the services of Jesuit cooperators. At least 
five such attempts, all, except the last, unsuccessful, are on record. As 
early as 1814, while apostolic administrator at New Orleans, he 
appealed for priests to Father Grassi, the superior of the MarjLmd 
Jesuits. 7 In the following year, he was consecrated Bishop of Louisiana 
and the Flondas. Not a month had elapsed since his consecration when 
he procured from the Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VII, a brief, under date 
of October 16, 1815, commending his petition for missionaries to the 
General of the Jesuits, Father Thaddeus Brzozowski. 8 Father Brzoztw- 
ski, however, did not find it possible to complj with this joint petition 
of Pius VII and the Bishop of Louisiana, honorable as it was to the 
Society over which he presided. That body had been restored through- 
out the Christian world only the year before, its pro\mees were unset- 
tled and undermanned, its General, refused permission bj the Russian 
government to go to Rome and unable to dispose frcch cither ot 
himself or of his subjects, could not from so remote a point as Polotsk 
in Russia administer properly the important spiritual interests entrusted 
to his hands. Father Brzozowski regretted, therefore, that he had onlj 
promises to make to the zealous prelate from America. Yet he did what 
he could. He issued instructions to Father Perelh, vicar for Itah, as also 
to Father Clonviere, provincial of France, to furnish Du Bourg with 
men if they had them to spare. 9 

7 Hughes, SJ , Hisfoty of the Society of Jesus in Notth Amfnt ;, C'Jwijl and 
Federal, Documents, 2 1008, 

8 Idem, Doc , z 1010 TJiaddeus Brzozowski, born in KimelanJ, KLucnigsberg, 
East Prussia, October 21, 1749, entered the Society of Jesus \ugiM 26, 1765; 
Geneial of the Society fiom 1805 to h js death in 1820, his uJmmistiation wit nos- 
ing the tiagic episode of Napoleon's invasion of Russia 

9 Idem> Doc, 2' ion. 


It was, it would appear, Du Bourg's desire to see in Louisiana a 
Jesuit mission independent of that of Maryland. He alleged as the 
reason for such separation the great distance between Louisiana and 
Maryland, but the true reason, so Father Fidele de Gnvel informed 
his General from Pans, was the fear entertained by the prelate that 
Father Grassi, superior of the Maryland Mission, might withdraw men 
for service in the eastern United States Meeting the Bishop in Pans, 
de Gnvel disabused him of some misconceptions he was under regard- 
ing the Society's methods of disposing of its members. "He is," de 
Gnvel commented in a letter to the General, "a man of God and 
one can easily come to an understanding with him." The Bishop agreed 
to pay the travelling expenses from Bordeaux to Louisiana of such 
missionaries as the General might send him, but m his poverty he could 
not undertake to pay their expenses from Polotsk to Bordeaux, a matter 
of seventy-five ducats for each traveller. 10 

Not disheartened by the failure of his first application, Bishop Du 
Bourg wrote again to the Father General with a request that he issue 
orders to the Jesuit provincials of Italy, France and Belgium requiring 
men to be supplied. 11 Finally, on the eve of his departure from Bor- 
deaux, he again addressed himself to the General, requesting leave to 
take with him to America Father Barat, for whom he had conceived a 
high regard. The latter, a brother of St Madeleine Sophie Barat, 
foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart, "yearns," in the Bishop's 
words, "for the foreign missions." Local superiors may protest; for this 
reason the Bishop has recourse to the General "It is to obviate such 
difficulties that your holy Founder wished all things to be regulated by 
a single individual, who not being influenced by the particular interests 
of this or that locality may pronounce upon the vocations of his subjects 
in a manner more conformable to the general interests of the greater 
glory of God." 12 But Father Barat was not to accompany the Bishop 
of Louisiana. After two years of fruitless negotiations with the Society 
of Jesus, the enterprising prelate, with a party of twenty-eight recruits, 
embarked at Bordeaux for America, June 17, 1817, on the French 
frigate Caravane, which the generosity of Louis XVIII had placed at 
his service. 13 

10 Idem> Doc ,2 1 01 1. Fidele de Grrvel, born at Cour St. Maurice m France, 
December 17, 1769, entered the Society of Jesus, August 16, 1803, master of 
novices at White Marsh m the thirties, died at Georgetown, District of Columbia, 
June 26, 1842 

11 ldem> Doc., 2. 1012 

12 Idem, Doc , 2. 1013. Louis Baiat, born at Joigny, France, March 30, 1768, 
became a Jesuit August 20, 1814, died at Paiis, June 21, 1845 

13 F. Hoi week, Kirchengescfachte von $t Louis, p 23 Bishop Du Bourg was 
the bearer of letters from the Jesuit Father General appointing Father Anthony 


Bishop Du Bourg, returning now to America without the Jesuit 
missionaries he had so earnestly solicited, did not by anj means relin- 
quish the hope of some day seeing them settle in his diocese. About 
a year after he had taken up residence in St Louis, which he tem- 
porarily made his headquarters in preference to New Orleans^ he wrote 
to Father Anthony Kohlmann, superior of the Society of Jesus in Mary- 
land, inviting him to open a house in the town of Franklin, Missouri, 
now known as Old Franklin, to distinguish it from the present town 
of the same name. 14 It was situated in Howard County, on the left 
bank of the Missouri River, opposite the present site of Boonville. Laid 
out in 1816 on fifty acres of land donated for the purpose, with streets 
eighty-seven feet wide, it soon became the most considerable town in 
the state after St Louis. The Missouri Intelligencer , appearing at 
Franklin, April 23, 1819, made claim to be the first newspaper, after 
the Missouri Gazette of St Louis, published west of the Mississippi. 
The first steamboat to ascend the Missouri, the Independence, reached 
Franklin, the terminus of its historic trip, May 28, 1819, having been 
eight days out from St. Louis. But the glories of Franklin were bhort- 
lived In 1826 the encroachments of the Missouri River caused the 
inhabitants to abandon the town, the buildings being moved bodily or 
else torn down for the sake of the materials The site of the town 
was soon swept away entirely, the only part pertaining to it that now 
remains being the old graveyard, which lay beyond its limits. 15 

It was to this promising frontier settlement that Bishop Du Bouig 
was inviting the Jesuits of the Maryland Mission. But that mission 
of the Society was too slenderly manned to venture on a new establish- 
ment in the Far West and so the Bishop's invitation went unheeded. 
This outcome must have brought disappointment to Mother Duchcsnc 
m St. Charles, Missouri, whence she had written hoping "that at the 
town of Franklin, which was rapidly rising, the Society of Jesus would 
also found a college and by the gradual erection of small habitations 
extend their operations into distant localities where the word of God 
had not yet been preached " 1C 

Kohlmann superior of the Maryland Mission "Sept 9, 1817 Rt R<n. Mr. Du 
Bourg came to the College having landed at Annapolis a few day* ago, \vjth 
about 3 I cccl. [esiastics] 5 of whom are priests He brought letter* for Fr, Kohl- 
mann from Rev Fr General Sept n, 1817 Fathci Kohlmann assembled all the 
religious in the refectory and read an extract of Fr. General's Icttei appointing 
him Superior (i c of Ours)," Diary of Fathei John McKlioj, SJ. (G), 

14 Hughes, of ctt , Doc , 2 1013. 

15 Howard L Conard, Encyclopedia of the History of Mtssauti (St. Louis 
1901), art "Franklin" 

10 Baunard, Life of Mother Duchesne> tr by Fullerton (Rochampton, England, 
1879), p. 181. 


Two years after the project of a Jesuit establishment at Franklin 
was mooted the Bishop was still in search of Jesuit recruits. This time 
he addressed himself to Cardinal Fontana, Prefect of the Congregation 
of the Propaganda. He regretted his inability to provide for the con- 
version of the savage tribes which abounded in "the upper parts" of his 
diocese, and he asked his Eminence to use his influence to have the 
General of the order grant him Father Barat and other French fathers 
as well as some of the members recently expelled from Russia. Five 
or six fathers would be enough if only the Maryland Mission would 
reenf orce the party with two or three more 

So far I have scarcely been able to turn my attention to the conversion 
of the savages, who are in great numbers m the upper part of my diocese 
But even if I had been able to do so, there were no laborers For some time 
past I have been thinking, for this paramount work of chanty, of the Fathers 
of the Society of Jesus and have left no stone unturned m order to secure 
some of them. In this regard I was greatly aided by his Holiness [Pius VII], 
who went so far as to write to the Superior General with a view to indorse 
my wishes But hitherto our efforts have proved unsuccessful However, I 
understand that the Superiors of the Society are showing more willingness to 
undertake the work I have accordingly recommended to Father Inglesi to 
make use of every resource his intelligence and zeal could prompt m order to 
bring the project to maturity. I likewise beg most earnestly of your Eminence 
to second his effoits There is, in particular, one of the Fathers of the Society, 
Dr. Baiat by name, now m the Little Seminary of Bordeaux, whom I know 
to be most anxious to come here, m piety, knowledge and zeal he is second 
to none. I most earnestly pray the Vicar-General to give him to me, and 
beseech to this end the aid of your Eminence's most powerful influence 
With him some of the younger French Jesuits will be glad to come as also 
otheis of riper years, who came lately from Russia to France. Five, or six 
at most, would be sufficient, if to them were added two or three from 
Maryland a thing most desirable on account of their knowledge of English, 
and also because, as these are well-off financially, they could supply the want 
of their brothers. With this help, the Gospel cannot fail to make headway 
among the numberless natives on both sides of the Mississippi and the Missouri. 
Your Eminence should make it his business to undertake so great a work 
Let him buckle manfully to the task If he do not, I am afraid the Protestant 
missionaries will wrest from us so desirable a palm of victory. 17 

In his answer to Bishop Du Bourg under date of June 2, 1821, 
Cardinal Fontana, after disposing of the question of a coadjutor for 
the Bishop of Louisiana, wrote apropos of the Indian missions- 

17 Du Bourg ad Fontana, New Orleans, February 24. (25 ? )* 1821 SLCHR, 
2: 136. 


Meanwhile, what your Lordship has no less at heart than the Sacred 
Congregation, concerns the conversion of the savages, who are m great 
numbers throughout Upper Louisiana and may easil) be brought fiom the 
darkness of error to the light of tiuth, provided theie aie Liboieis I indeed 
feel like yourself that no workers aie better fitted foi this task than the 
Fathers of the Society of Jesus, accordingly I will do m\ utmost to bung 
the Superior General to consent to your proposal, And not onl\ peimit 
Father de Barat, now residing at Bordeaux, to go ovei then, vuth othcis 
who came lecently from Russia, but also to see that two 01 thiee fiom 
Maryland be sent I shall without delay notify your Loidship of the iLStilt of 
this negotiation. But you ought to mention and specify exactly the places to 
be assigned to the Mission of the Jesuit Fathers in oidci to preclude all 
misunderstandings and conflicts for the future 1S 

In fulfillment of the pledge it had given Bishop Du Bourg to do 
its utmost to secure him Jesuit missionaries, the Sacred Congregation 
of the Propaganda, through its secretary, Msgr Pedicmi, addressed 
a note to Father Fortis, who had succeeded Father Brzozowski as Gen- 
eral of the Society of Jesus 

An answer is being returned to the pi elate that the Sacied Congiega- 
tion will lend all its services in obtaining from youi Most Re\. Pateimt\ the 
fulfillment of the desire expressed, and that, in the meantime, he himself 
should determine and circumscribe the limits of the mission to be placed 
entirely under the caie of the Jesuit Fathers, so that no collision 01 dis- 
turbance arise subsequently In pursuance of the oideis leienul fiom the 
Sacred Congregation, Pedicmi, the Secietaiy, piaysyoui Most Rev Patumtv, 
to take to heait a woik so conducive to the gloiy of God and the sahation 
of souls, and to let the undersigned know what you will be able to lesolvt 
upon with regaid to each of the points mentioned, so that he will he able to 
give the prelate a suitable icply 19 

Father Fortis was not any better off in the matter of axailuble 
subjects for the foreign missions than had been his predecessor, Father 
Brzozowski. He therefore signified regretfully to Msgr. Pedium his 
inability to comply with Du Bourg's request. His letter^ bncflj sum- 
marized, enters in detail into the difficulties of his position 

The scarcity of priests who are fit for active work and have 1 1 a ivi-d the 
formation of the Order, since the i eestablishment. Tht engagements ah tad} 
made, binding the General m conscience and honor to complete the istab- 

18 Fontana ad Du Bourg, Rome, June 2, 1821. SLCHR, 2. 143 
19 Pedicmi ad Fortis, Rome, June 2, 1821 Hughes, of. /*/., Doc., 2: 1014. 
Aloysius Fortis, born m Verona, Italy, February 26, 1748, entcicd the Society ot 
Jesus October 12, 1762, General of the Society of Jesus, 1820-18295 JaJ in 
Rome January 27, 1829 


lishments founded by the Society in diverse states in Europe The urgency 
of so many European princes, who demand the return of the Order or its 
extension into their own countries, with the additional consideration that 
these same princes have distinguished themselves as protectors and great 
benefactors of the Society. The state of France, where many Bishops have 
placed the Jesuits under signal obligations and have been so liberal in allowing 
members of their diocesan clergy to enter the Order, "in the hope that they 
should receive a return in kind," by seeing the same as Jesuits lending their 
help m the ministenes proper to their new state What would they think, if, 
after being so frequently put off, they now saw their most strenuous workmen, 
who are actually in their service, withdrawn and despatched to America? 20 

This unequivocal communication from the General of the Society 
to the Propaganda might seem to have quite cut off from Du Bourg all 
hope, at least for the moment, of securing Jesuit missionaries for his 
diocese. It was forwarded to that prelate by Cardinal Fontana with 
an accompanying note 

Your Lordship's proposal concerning the erection of a mission in your 
immense diocese for the evangelization of the savages, under the direction 
and in care of the Fathers of the Society of Jesus, I did not fail to recommend 
warmly to the Supenoi General of the said Society But from the answer 
returned by him, a copy of which I enclose herein, you may easily under- 
stand that, by reason of the scarcity of laborers, he is for the present unable 
to undertake this noble work It accordingly devolves upon you to adopt 
other means to bring about the realization of your praiseworthy design, no 
woik, indeed, is holier and more apostolic than that of turning barbarous 
nations, plunged in the darkness of error, to the light of truth and the path 
of eternal salvation. What I know of your solicitude and zeal assures me that 
you will not neglect these means 21 


Towards the end of 1822 Bishop Du Bourg arrived in Washing- 
ton to transact with the federal government some business matters relat- 
ing to his diocese. 22 To a friend in Lyons, France, he wrote on January 

20 Hughes, of cit, Doc., ^ 1015. 

21 Fontana ad Du Bourg, Rome, June 23, 1821. SLCHR, ^ 144. 

22 In his letter of March 29, 1823, to the Cardinal-Prefect of the Propaganda 
(SLCHR, 3. 129), Du Bourg details the reasons that brought him to Washington. 
These fall under two heads, (i) the Ursuline property in New Orleans and (2) the 
Indian missions With regard to the property, on which was built the venerable 
Ursuline convent m New Orleans, Bishop Du Bourg sought and obtained from the 
government a confirmation of the old French or Spanish title by which the nuns 
held it, besides inducing the government to relinquish a claim which it had pre- 
ferred on some technicality to a third part of this same property. The Bishop's 
particular interest m the matter was due to the circumstance that the nuns having 


29, 1823, from that city apropos of the newly founded Association of 
the Propagation of the Faith 

I am writing today to the [membeis of the] Association of the Piopaga- 
tion of the Faith Their plan is most excellent May they perse\ere and not 
permit themselves to become discouraged by difficulties' We have \ei) 
gieat ones of another kind to surmount, but if the Association is constant and 
endeavors to help us by all the means that such a pioject faithfully followed 
may produce, I have no doubt of the most consoling success Abandoned to 
our own resources, however, we can advance but slowly, and then onl^ 
provided the constant sight of the great needs which appeal to us clamoiousl) 
from so many quarters may not end by crushing our couiage I cannot tell 
you how much this project has already contributed to encouiagc mine. I see 
m advance churches building, the ignorant instructed, the savages e\angclized 
It is m part, the interests of the last which have called me to Washington 
The goveinment has received my request giaciously, but what it can do 
does not amount to much. Never mind, it will help, at least. The most 
difficult part as well as the most expensive m all great entu puses is the begin- 
ning, and when there is little or no money, it is enough to dim one mad - ij 

A letter of Du Bourg bearing the same date as the preceding one 
and addressed to the officials of the Association of the Propagation of 
the Faith dwells upon the aid which that body in the first >car of its 
existence proposed to lend to the missions of Louisiana. 

The plan of your Association, Gentlemen, docs credit to join judgement 
as well as to your piety. Your organization, so well adapted to facilitate col- 
lections and insure unity m the whole business, and yom intention to dis- 
tribute funds between the missions of the East, Louisiana and Kentucky, all 
seems to me perfectly conceived I do not doubt that He who has mspiud }ou 
with the courage to take up and the wisdom to conceive the plan, will give 
you also the perseverance to put it into execution* There will he difficulties 
of detail, there will be, too, an elaborate coi i espondencc to keep up, which 
might weary men less faithful, men whose intentions were kss elevated; but 
the remembrance of all that Jesus Christ suffeied for the redemption of your 
own souls, the happiness of working with him and his follow*. is foi the 
redemption of so many other souls which the want of pecimuiy help would 
leave eternally condemned to the privation of this happiness, are motives that 

acquired a new site for their convent had engaged to turn the old site over to 
him as soon as the new convent buildings should be ready for occupancv. To secure 
a clear title to the old Umiline property was accordingly a mattei of moment to 
the Bishop. 

28 Du Bourg a M, de Lyon, Washington, January 29, 1823, in Annales 

de V Association de la Propagation de la Fot, 1 (no 2) 60 IV. in Recotdt of the 
American Catholic Historical Society, 14. 145 Bishop Du Bourg had a share in 
the creation of the great Catholic international society for missionary support, the 
Association of the Propagation of the Faith. 


never lose force in hearts filled with Faith By giving a broad range to the 
object of your Association, you insure for it the support and interest of all 
who love God m France. The imagination, as well as the heart, is fired with 
the idea of carrying the torch of religion to the most distant points of the 
two hemispheres Nothing could be more truly Catholic than this wise thought 
and what pious soul, even in the poorest classes, would not esteem it an 
honor and joy, to procure, at the price of sacrifices so light, the glory of 
taking part in such a great work. 24 

In the negotiations with the government on which Bishop Du Bourg 
was presently to enter, John C. Calhoun, secretary of war under Presi- 
dent Monroe, took a leading part. The management of Indian affairs 
belonged at this period to the Department of War, but in the follow- 
ing year, 1824, a separate Bureau of Indian Affairs, with Thomas 
Lorraine McKenney at its head as commissioner, was organized, the 
bureau being made an appanage of the Department of the Interior. 
From 1821 to 1824, Calhoun, as secretary of war, gave to the Indian 
affairs of government his personal attention, displaying in the conduct 
of this branch of his administrative duties a grasp of the Indian question 
worthy of one to whom the impartial verdict of history has accorded 
high rank among American statesmen. 25 That both President Monroe 
and Secretary Calhoun showed themselves sympathetic to the Bishop's 
plans was probably due to certain Catholic associations that had entered 
into their lives. Monroe had apparently made contacts with the Jesuits 
of Georgetown College. Calhoun, during his residence on Georgetown 
Heights or perhaps even before that period, was brought into friendly 
personal relations with the same Jesuit group. 26 To one of their number, 
Father Levins, a mathematician of note, he offered a professorship 
at West Point. He apparently was not without some knowledge and 
appreciation of the Jesuits as missionaries, for he advised Bishop Du 
Bourg to secure the services of some of their number for the missions 

24 Du Bourg a P Association, etc., Washington, January 29, 1823 Ann. Ft op, 
p 13 (ed Louvam, 1825). Tr. m RACHS, 14" 146. 

25 "Upon the whole he advocated a policy towards these wards of the nation 
which it would have been well for all parties concerned to adopt and pursue with 
undeviating honesty. Even in our days his Indian reports might be profitably 
studied with regard as well to the cardinal mistakes committed in the Indian policy 
as to what ought to be done." Herman E Von Hoist, John C Calhoun (American 
Statesmen Series), 1888, p. 45. 

26 "I have often heard old Jesuits say that Mr. Calhoun, who lived m George- 
town at this period in an elegant mansion on the heights, often interchanged 
neighborly courtesies with them and seemed to take much pleasure m his visits 
to the college " J Fairfax McLaughlm, College Days at Old Georgetown and 
other Papers (Philadelphia, 1899), p. 73 Calhoun was living on Georgetown 
Heights at least as early as the summer of 1823. 


which the prelate was now proposing to set up Negotiations with gov- 
ernment on this head began in January or February, 1823. Having met 
Calhoun m person, Du Bourg was directed by him to draw up and 
submit a definite statement of his missionary plans and the extent of aid 
he would expect from government to enable him to carry them out. 
The Bishop thereupon wrote to the secretary February 15, 1823 

Encouraged by the fuendly attention with which you have been pleased 
to honor my advances for the establishment of Catholic missions among the 
native Indians of Missouri, I gladly meet your kind imitation m submitting 
some considerations on that important subject, which, if approved, ma\ 
serve as a basis for the concession to be made by government for the suppoi t 
of those missions . . . 

I should then, with due deference, think that for those distant missions 
at least, the work of civilization should commence with harmonizing them 
by the kind doctrine of Christianity, instilled into their minds not by the 
doubtful and tedious process of books, but by familiar conversation, striking 
representations and by the pious lives of theii spiritual leadeis Men, dis- 
enthralled from all family cares, abstracted from every eaithly enjoyment, 
inured to fatigue and self-denial, living in the flesh as if strangeis to all 
sensual inclination, are well calculated to strike the man of nature as a supei- 
natural species of beings, entitled to his almost implicit belief. Thus become 
masters of his understanding, their unremitting chanty will easily subdue 
the ferocity of their hearts and by degrees assimilate their inclinations to those 
of their fellow-Christians 

I would be for abandoning the whole management of that gieat work 
to the prudence of missionaries as the best judges of the means to be pi ogi es- 
sively employed to forward the great object of then own sacrifices Such at 
least was always the policy observed in Catholic Indian missions, the success 
of which m almost every instance answered and often sin passed cvciy piudent 

Upon these principles I would be willing to send a fe\v missionaries b\ 
way of trial at least among the Indians of Missouri should Govnnment he 
disposed to encourage the undertaking The appropriation of monies foi that 
object, being, I understand, very limited and m a great measure already 
disposed of, I feel extremely delicate in proffering any specific demand I 
would only beg leave to observe that hardly a less sum than 200 dollars 
would suffice to procuie a missioner the indispensable necessities of life. With 
this abridged view of the subject I beg you will have the goodness to mfozm 
me. Sir, whether and to what extent, Government would be willing to 
favor my scheme. I. What allowance it would grant to each missionary? 
2 To how many that support might be extended? 3. In case establishments 
could be made, what help would be made towards them either in money 01 
lands? (H). 

This letter of Bishop Du Bourg's brought from Secretary Calhoun 
a reply, dated five days later, February 20: 


I have received your communication of the I5th instant and laid it before 
the President [Monroe], who has directed me to state to you in reply that 
the regulations established in relation to the civilization of the Indians have 
been relaxed with respect to the i emote tribes, that is, those tribes occupying 
the country beyond the Osages and the line of our military posts, and that 
the Government will contribute $200 annually towards the support of each 
missionary whom you may send out, not exceeding for the present, three; 
which will be paid quarter-yearly to your order, commencing from the time 
they shall actually set out in the prosecution of their duties, of which, and 
also of the names of the persons selected, you will be pleased to notify this 
Department. The Government will also contribute towards the expense of 
the buildings (of which an estimate must be submitted to this Department), 
which it may be necessary to erect for the accommodation of the Missionaries, 
m the proportion mentioned in the regulations, printed copies of which are 

An annual report, on the ist day of October, communicating information 
of the points selected for the location of the missionaries respectively, the 
progress they have made and the prospects of success and also any informa- 
tion in relation to the character and condition of the Indians and the sur- 
rounding country which may be thought useful to be known to the Govern- 
ment, will be required, which will enable the Government to judge of the 
propriety of extending further encouragement to the undertaking. . . , 27 

Bishop Du Bourg's efforts to interest the federal authorities in his 
Indian missions had thus met with considerable success. He had been 
pledged an annual appropriation of two hundred dollars for each of the 
three missionaries whom he engaged to send among the Indians and 
had besides secured a promise of substantial aid towards the erection of 
buildings m which to house them But he was not content to put up 
with his actual gam so long as there was a chance of making it still 
more substantial. He asked and obtained from Calhoun a pledge that 
the government allowance promised in favor of three missionaries be 
extended to four. From the Visitation Convent at Georgetown he wrote 
on March 10 to Calhoun: 

I left, thru mistake, m Baltimore, the message with which you lately 
favoured me m relation to the support granted, at my request, by Govern- 
ment to a few Catholic Missionaries for the Indian tribes of upper Missouri 
and Mississippi. In that message, you had confined encouragement to Three, 
but on a second verbal application from me, you were kind enough to promise 
to alter that word into Four. Now, Sir, I have to request of your kindness 
ist. a written authorization to make that alteration myself, on my return to 
Baltimoie 2nd a letter for Genl. Wm. Clark of St. Louis intimating 
to him the dispositions of Government respecting those four Missionaries, 

27 Calhoun to Du Bourg, Washington, February 20, 1823 (A). 


and an invitation for him to assist m conveying them to their iespecti\e 

As I intend to leave this place on Thursday for Wheeling, Ma Baltimore, 
I take the liberty of soliciting an immediate answei, observing at the same 
time that m consequence of new arrangements, the departuie of the Mis- 
sionaries will be somewhat retarded in oidei to make the expedition more 
complete, and probably to afford a sufficient number foi the three posts 
designated by you, viz Council Bluffs, Rivei St Pierre, and Piaine Du 
Chien When this latter circumstance is fully ascertained, I will have the 
honor of addressing you for an extension of pationage 28 

To this letter of Du Bourg's Calhoun replied on the following day 
granting the request made by the prelate and informing him that 
in compliance with his petition a letter had been forwarded to General 
William Clark, superintendent of Indian affairs m the West, directing 
him to furnish the missionaries with passports and otherwise befriend 
them in their missionary designs. "It is believed," sa\s the secretary in 
his letter to Clark at St. Louis, "that the missionaries \ull, besides 
preparing the way for their ultimate civilization, be useful in prevent- 
ing the commission o outrages and preserving peace with the tribes 
among which they may fix themselves," 28a 

Thus far in the negotiations between the Bishop of Louisiana and 
the American secretary of state nothing had been said on either side in 
regard to an Indian school. The Bishop's plan, as presented to the 
government and indorsed by the latter with an accompanying pledge 
of financial support, did not go beyond the settling of a few missionaries 
among the Indian tribes of his diocese, it stipulated nothing what- 
ever regarding the education of Indian boys and, HI fact, made no 
mention of the topic at all. But between the dates March 10 and 17 
circumstances arose which led to a radical change m the Bishop^s pro- 
gram as he had previously laid it before the government. What these 
circumstances were, the Bishop details in a letter written from George- 
town to his brother Louis, a resident of Bordeaux m France* 

I am still here, my dear brother, although I had proposed in lca\ e before 
this I have delayed, partly on account of bad roads, hut moie especially in 
ordei to see the end of a negotiation which I had begun with the go\em- 
ment on the one hand and with the Jesuits on the other for the establish- 
ment of Indian missions on the Missouri and the Upper Mississippi. 

Providence deigns to giant a success to this double negotiation far in 
excess of my hopes. The government bestows upon me two hundred dollars 

28 (H) Government posts were established at this time at Prairie du Chicn t 
near the confluence of the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers, at the confluence of 
the Mississippi and the St Peter's, and at Council Bluffs on the upper Missouri. 

28a Calhoun to Clark, March, 1823. (A), 


a year for each missionary and that for four or five men, and it promises 
to increase the number gradually, which I am sure it will do 

For an enterprise such as this it was essential that I should have men 
especially called to this work, and I had almost renounced the hope of ever 
obtaining such when God, m His infinite goodness, brought about one of 
those situations of which He alone can foresee and direct the outcome. The 
Jesuits of whom I speak had an establishment of theirs m Maryland and 
finding themselves exceedingly embarrassed were on the point of disbanding 
their novitiate when I obtained this pecuniary encouragement from the gov- 
ernment. They have seized this opportunity and have offered to transport 
the whole novitiate, master and novices, into Upper Louisiana and form there 
a preparatory school for Indian missionaries If I had my choice, I could 
not have desired anything better. Seven young men, all Flemings, full of 
talent and of the spirit of Saint Fiancis Xavier, advanced m their studies, 
about twenty-two to twenty-seven years of age, with their two excellent 
masteis and some bi others, this is what Providence at last grants to my 

As for the rest, you have my permission, in fact it will even give me 
great pleasure to have you communicate this news to any who can aid m 
such a great woik, particularly the members of the Association of the 
Piopagation of the Faith. They will see with gratification how God makes 
the establishment of their Association in France coincident with the one 
forming for the heathen in Louisiana, as though He would have them 
undei stand that He destines the former for the support of the latter Now 
I shall tell you of my plan Near the spot where the Missouri empties into 
the Mississippi, outside the village of Florissant, already so happy as to possess 
the principal institution of the Ladies of the Sacred Heart, I have a very 
pretty pioductive farm, excellent soil, which if well cultivated, (which it is 
not at present), could easily provide sustenance for twenty persons at least, 
so far as the impoitant question of sustenance is concerned True, there is 
only a small house on the place, but m this country a big cabin of rough 
wood, such as will be suitable for the apostles of the savages, is quickly built 
It is there that I will locate this novitiate, which will be for all time a 
seminary especially intended to form missionaries for the Indians and for the 
civilized and ever growing population of Missouri, 

As soon as the actual subjects are ready, we will commence the mission 
in good earnest. In the meantime, I propose to receive in the seminary a half 
dozen Indian children from the different tribes m order to familiarize my 
young missionaries with their habits and language and to prepare the Indians 
to serve as guides, interpreters and aids to the missionaries when they are 
sent to the scattered tribes. It seems to me that with the Divine assistance 
this plan, which presents itself so naturally, may in time develop. The first 
thing we have to do is to pray to God, the second to petition His servants 
on earth, not forgetting, however, those who are m heaven. I foresee still 
many difficulties, for we must build, we must buy provisions for the first 


year, the farm not being under sufficient cultivation, we must buy clothes, 
etc etc , but we will raise our eyes to Him who has but to open His hand in 
order to shower blessings upon His creatures, and I know that when our 
brothers and sisters in France hear of our undertaking and our needs they 
will come to our aid 

I wrote some time ago to the Association of the Propagation of the Faith 
through its secretary at Lyons. I did not then expect this Indian Mission 
to take form so soon I prudently wished to have funds before seeking men, 
but behold ' the men arrive before the funds, because God has His own way 
of arranging matters which often upset the plans of our poor little human 
prudence May His holy will be done. Moreover, my young missionaries 
are not the men to recoil before difficulties I asked the master of novices 
the other day how they would travel, as I had no money to give them 
"Oh'" said he, " I have no uneasiness, we will walk and we will beg " 29 

On the same day that Bishop Du Bourg penned the foregoing letter 
to his brother in Bordeaux he wrote to Secretary Calhoun informing 
him of the change m his plans occasioned by the offer he had just 
received from the Maryland Jesuits 

The liberal encouragement which the Government has, at my request, 
consented to extend to Catholic Missions among the remote Indian tribes 
on the Missouri and Upper Mississippi, having induced me to bestow on 
that important subject all the attention to which it is entitled, I have the 
honor to submit to your consideration a plan of operation which the most 
serious reflections have presented to me as best calculated to insure per- 
manency to that establishment and to enlarge its sphere of usefulness 

The basis of that plan would be the formation (on an eligible spot near 
the confluence of those two large streams) of a Seminary or nursery of 
Missionaries, in which young Candidates for that holy function would be 
trained in all its duties, whilst it would also afford a suitable letreat for 
such as, through old age, infirmity or any other lawful cause, would be 
compelled to withdraw from that arduous ministry. The chief studies pur- 
sued in that Seminary would be: the manners of the Indians, the idioms of 
the principal Nations and the arts best adapted to the great puipose of civiliza- 
tion. And, m order to facilitate the attainment of some of these objects, 
I would at once try to collect in that Institution some Indian youths of the 
most important tnbes, whose habitual converse with the Tyros of the Mis- 
sion, would be mutually of the greatest advantage for the promotion of the 
ultimate object m contemplation The result of that kind of Noviciate 
would be a noble emulation among the Missionaries, uniformity of system, a 
constant succession of able and regularly trained Instructors, and a gradual 
expansion of their sphere of activity. 

I am willing to give for that establishment a fine and well-stocked farm 

29 Du Bourg a son frere, March 17, 1823 (Ann. Pioi> , i (no c) 37 et sea 
TrmRACHS,i4 149. *" 


in the rich valley of Flonssant about one mile from the river Missouri and 
fifteen from St. Louis. 

Seven young clergymen, from twenty-two to twenty-seven years of age, 
of solid parts and an excellent Classical education are nearly ready to set off 
at the first signal under the guidance of two Superiors and professors and 
with an escort of a few faithful mechanics and husbandmen to commence 
that foundation. I calculate at about two years the time necessary to con- 
solidate it and to fit out most of those highly promising candidates for the 
duties of the missions, after which they will be anxious to be sent in different 
directions according to the views and under the auspices of Government 
whilst they will be replaced m the Seminary by others destined to continue 
the noble enterprise. 

So forcibly am I struck with the happy consequences likely to result 
from the extension of that same project that I hesitate not to believe that 
Government viewing it m the same light with myself will be disposed to offer 
me towards its completion that generous aid without which I would not be 
warranted to undertake it. ... 

It has already condescended to allow $800 per annum for four mis- 
sionaries. But it was on the supposition that they would be immediately sent 
to the Missouri and in the proposed plan the opening of the missions would 
take place but two years after the opening of the Seminary Yet though not 
actually employed among the tribes, the missionaries, whilst yet in their novi- 
tiate, would not be the less profitably engaged in the cause; since besides 
having a number of young Indians to feed, to educate and maintain, they 
would be laying the foundation for far more extended usefulness for the 
future. . . . 

The true object of this memoir is to demand that the allowance granted 
by government, to be increased, if possible, to $1000 per annum (on account 
of the great additional expenses incident on the present scheme) should be 
paid from the first outset, on my pledging myself as I solemnly do, that, at 
latest, in two years from the commencement, I will send out five or six 
missionaries and successively as many more as Government may then be 
disposed to encourage. 

For the attainment of the object of collecting some Indian boys in the 
Seminary, it would be of great service, Sir, that you should please to invite 
Gen'l Clark and Col. O'Fallon to lend me their assistance. 30 

30 Du Bourg to Calhoun, Washington, March 17, 1823 (H). There are indi- 
cations that this letter, as also the one of Du Bourg's to Calhoun February 15, 
1823, were drawn up by Father Benedict Fenwick General William Clark, asso- 
ciated with Menwether Lewis m the famous Lewis and Clark expedition to the 
Columbia River, 1803, was appointed by President Monroe in 1822 western super- 
intendent of Indian affairs with headquarters in St. Louis, an office he discharged 
with great credit until his death in 1838, Familiarly known to the Indians as 
Red Head, on account of the color of his long hair, he gamed a remarkable as- 
cendency over the native tribes of the West, his dealings with whom were char- 
acterized by prudence, humanity and justice. It was owing to his long-continued 
control of Indian affairs at St. Louis that this city became the recognized clearing- 


Calhoun's reply to the foregoing communication from Du Bourg 
is dated four days later, March 21 

I have received your letter of the lyth instant and submitted it to the 
President for his consideration and direction, who has instructed me to inform 
you, in reply, that believing the establishment of a school on the principles 
which you have suggested, is much better calculated to effect your benevolent 
design of extending the benefits of civilization to the remote tribes, and with 
it the just influence of the government, than the plan you formerly pioposed 
for the same object, he is willing to encourage it as far as he can with 
propriety, and will allow you at the former rate of $800 per annum to be 
paid quarter yearly towards the support of the contemplated establishment 
No advance, however, can be made consistently with the regulations, until 
the establishment has actually commenced its operations, with a suitable 
number of Indian youths, of which fact and the number of pupils the cei- 
tificate of General Clark will be the proper evidence 

A copy of this letter will be sent to General Clark with instiuctions to 
give proper orders to such of the Indian agents under his charge as you may 
think necessary, to facilitate the collection of the Indian youths to be 
educated, and to afford every aid m his power to promote the success of the 
establishment. 31 

President Monroe had thus accepted Bishop Du Bourg's project 
of an Indian school as a substitute for the former project of sending 
out missionaries at once among the remote tribes , at least there appears 
to have been no intention on the part of the government to subsidize 
both ventures, the Indian school and the dispatch of missionaries^ by 
separate appropriations. The terms of the President's offer, however, 

house for all federal transactions with the Indians of the West and Southwest. 
Though not a Catholic, he had three of his children baptued by Bishop Flaget on 
the occasion of the latter's visit to St Louis m 1814 "Governor Clark [at this 
time Governor of Missouri Territory], the former associate of Lewis m the dis- 
covery of the Columbia river, paid him every possible attention He invited the 
Bishop to his house and prevailed on him to baptize three of his children as well 
as an orphan girl residing m his family. The Bishop stood God-father and Mrs 
Hunt God-mother of the children." Spaldmg, Sketches of the Life, Times &id 
Character of the Rt. Rev Benedict Joseph Flaget, Fust B^skof of Louisville (Louis- 
ville, 1852), p 135 General Clark's son, Julius, was a student with the Jesuits in 
Florissant and later in St Louis, where he was baptized by one of their numbeu 

Benjamin O'Fallon (1793-1842), brother of John O'Fallon, St Louis philan- 
thropist, served many years as Indian agent on the Missouri River under Hit. 
uncle, General William Clark, the latter's sister Frances Jiavmg married Dr James 
O'Fallon, father of Benjamin and John Father John O'Fallon Pope of the Society 
of Jesus, for many years head-master of the Jesuit house at the University of 
Oxford known as Pope's Hall, was a grandson of John O'Fallon and a great-grand- 
nephew of General Clark. 

31 Calhoun to Du Bourg, Washington, March 21, 1822 [1823] (A). This 
letter is dated 1822, obviously a mistake for 1823. 



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A letter of Bishop Du Bourg to Secretary of War Calhoun, March 10, 1823. 
Files of the Indian Office, Department of the Interior, Washington, D. C. 

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Last page of a letter of Secretary of War Calhoun to Bishop Du Bourg, March z I , 
1822 (1823) Files of the Indian Office, Department of the Interior, Washing- 
ton, D. C. 


did not completely satisfy the energetic prelate, who was determined 
to secure every possible advantage for the enterprise on which he had 
set his heart. To Calhoun's letter of March 21 announcing the Presi- 
dent's willingness to grant an annual appropriation of eight hundred 
dollars for the projected Indian school, Du Bourg replied on the same 
day, asking that the allowance of eight hundred dollars run from the 
actual setting out of the missionaries though it was not to be paid until 
the seminary should be in operation. "I suppose," writes the Bishop, 
"it is your understanding, for the establishment being considered by 
Government in the same light with all others, it should be assimilated 
to them in this respect and in fact great expenses are necessary to pre- 
pare for the accommodation of the missionaries and of the Indian boys 
for which we ask nothing of Government. Then, until these can be 
collected, the missionaries must be supported and it is impossible to 
know how many months it may take to effect that purpose." 32 

No answer from Calhoun to this final petition of Bishop Du Bourg 
seems to be extant, at all events subsequent developments indicate that 
it was not acquiesced in by the government. 


Bishop Du Bourg's plan of Indian missionary enterprise in his dio- 
cese had thus been presented to the federal authorities in Washington 
and had been approved by them and even subsidized. We have now 
to retrace our steps for a space and learn what passed between the 
prelate and the Society of Jesus in Maryland in connection with the 
aforesaid plan. It was at the very crisis in the affairs of the White Marsh 
novitiate told above that Du Bourg came before the Maryland Jesuits 
with his petition for missionaries to labor in the West. 33 At this juncture, 
however, the dissolution of the novitiate had already been determined 
upon by the Jesuit authorities. It was not the Bishop's appearance upon 
the scene that led to this drastic measure, his contribution to the de- 
velopment of events was to consist rather m saving the entire personnel 
of the novitiate to the Society of Jesus by providing it with a new 
home in another section of the United States. 

From the first days of his arrival in the East towards the end of 
1822 Du Bourg had been in close touch with the Jesuits of Georgetown 
College. A spiritual retreat of eight days closing on Christmas Day, 
which he made at the college, gave edification to the faculty of the 
institution. 34 One of its professors, James Oliver Van de Velde, then 

82 Du Bouig to Calhoun, Washington, March 21, 1823 (H). 

83 Cf. stiff a, Chap. I, 6 

8 * Hughes, of. at, Doc, 2 910 


a > oung scholastic and subsequently second Bishop of Chicago, claimed 
in later years the distinction of having been the first to suggest to Bishop 
Du Bourg the plan of recruiting the White Marsh novices for service 
in his diocese Doubtless the prelate took up with the Jesuits the ques- 
tion of missionary recruits at an early stage of his visit in the East, 
moreover, it appears likely that he did not approach the government 
on the subject of subsidies until he had received from Father Charles 
Neale, superior of the Maryland Mission, at least a provisional pledge 
of a few men to enable him to carry out his program The results of his 
negotiations under this head up to February 27, 1823, were embodied 
by him in a letter of that date addressed to the Lazanst, Father Philip 
Borgna, an assistant-priest at the cathedral in New Orleans, who was 
about to visit Rome and whom the Bishop commissioned to be his con- 
fidential agent with the Sacred Congregation of the Propaganda * 3 
After deploring the imprudence of which he had been guilty in allow- 
ing himself to be duped by a clergyman who was afterwards discovered 
to be an adventurer and imposter, the Bishop wrote to Father Borgna 

In the midst of these great occasions of affliction, God has kept in store foi 
me extraordinary consolations The first is the success of the applica- 

tion I made to the American Government for the establishment of an 
Indian Mission at Council Bluff [s], where there is a militaiy post made up 
mostly of Catholics 3b The Government grants $800 yearly foi four mis- 

S5 Du Bourg a Borgna, C M , Washington, February 27, 1823 Tr in SLCHR, 
3 123 The letter refers m these terms to Father Angelo Inglesi, whom Du Bourg 
ordained in St Louis "Make known to the Cardinal Prelect by what aitinces the 
notorious Inglesi magnetized me and Father De Andreis and all, both priests and 
lay-people, who knew him here Say that I acknowledge my mistake and deploze it, 
and that such is the confusion and the sorrow into which, this sad disclosure has 
plunged me that I have been several times tempted to beseech his Holiness ior 
permission to retire, in order that I may bewail this fault, that the sole fear of 
seeing my Diocese lost by that request prevented me, but that if his Eminence 
deem it fit to relieve me of a place of which I made myself unworthy b\ such a 
great imprudence, I am ready to resign and will be most thankful to him " \ sketch 
by Msgr F Holweck in the Pastotal Blatt (St Louis), February, 1918, "hm 
dunkles blatt aus Du Bourg's Episcopat," gives the facts of Inglesi's career 

36 The present town of Council Bluffs on the western boundary of Iowa, 
directly opposite Omaha, Neb , takes its name from an older plade on the Nebraska 
side of the river about sixteen miles in a straight line above Omaha It is the older 
place to which Bishop Du Bourg refers The name originated with Lewis and 
Clark, the two explorers having on their way up the Missouri m 1804 met at this 
spot a. group of Oto and Missouri Indians, with whom they held a council Elliott 
Coues (ed ), Jouinal of the Lewis and Clatk Expedition (New York, 1893), * 66 
A government post known as Fort Atkinson (or Fort Calhoun) was established here 
about 1819 and later, under Col Leavenworth, the commandant, moved to a site 
lower down the Missouri, where it took the name of Fort Leavenworth That most 
of the soldiers garrisoned at Fort Atkinson at this period (1823) were Catholics, 


sionanes, and it will defray two-thirds of the ouday for the establishment 
and for the education of the young Indians. 37 It has been my intention to 
give this mission to your congregation, but it is and shall be yet for a long 
time too poor in subjects to be able to take it. The Jesuits are going to take 
it; they are giving me for this purpose two excellent priests and two lay- 
brothers to teach catechism. Council Bluffs is situated at about a thousand 
miles [ ' ] from the mouth of the Missoun river The missionaries will start 
in two or three weeks . . . 

Divine Providence brought me here to discover a veritable mine In 
order that these words may not be a puzzle to you and your Superiors, here 
is m plain and clear language what I mean The Jesuits, being overburdened 
by an enormous debt which obliges them to stop every expenditure, have 
determined to dissolve their Novitiate, which is made up of seven Flemish 
subjects, some of whom are quite remarkable, and they have proposed to 
me to take over those, who, unable to join their Society, would be willing 
to enter your own They offer to pay transportation expenses I am going 
tomoriow, or the day after, to visit the Novitiate and pick out three or 
four of the best 

In this communication from Bishop Du Bourg to Father Borgna 
two important points of agreement m the negotiations between the 
Bishop and the Jesuits of Maryland, as they had developed at this 
stage, are disclosed. First, the Bishop had secured for his projected 
Indian mission at Council Bluffs the services of two priests and two 
coadjutor-brothers of the Society of Jesus, these being Fathers Van 
Quickenborne and Timmermans and Brothers De Meyer and Reisel- 
man. 38 Secondly, the Flemish novices at White Marsh, who were to be 
dismissed m view of the impending dissolution of the novitiate, were 
to be given an opportunity of laboring in Du Bourg's diocese by be- 
coming Lazansts or members of the Congregation of the Mission 
established m Missouri since 1817. That this last proposal was actually 
laid before the novices by their superiors, there is nothing in the perti- 
nent documentary sources to indicate. In any case Du Bourg, if he did 
make the contemplated visit to White Marsh, did not broach the subject 

as Bishop Du Bourg declares, is probably an exaggeration The actual distance of 
old Council Bluffs up the Missouri from its mouth at the Mississippi is six hundred 
and ninety miles, the dnect distance between the two points being about four 

37 It was only on March 1 1 that Calhoun raised the number of missionaries to 
be subsidized from three to four. There is nothing m the Du Bourg-Calhoun 
correspondence to indicate that the government had engaged to defray two-thirds 
of the expense of setting up the mission and educating the Indian boys, in addition 
to an annual federal appropriation of $800 for the support of the missionaries. 
It is likely that the Bishop misconceived the terms of the government offer. 

38 Cf. infra, 5- 


to the novices. Before leaving Baltimore, whither he had gone to lay 
before Archbishop Marechal the arrangements he was making with the 
Jesuits, he wrote to that prelate on March 6, 1823 

I am returning to Washington and before leaving deem it proper to 
enter into a brief explanation 

I have had the honor to inform you that I am not acquainted with any 
of the young men of White Marsh, and am absolutely unaware of the 
arrangements they have made They were unaware themselves at the time 
of my parting of the arrangements made by the Superiors in their regard 
This has prevented me from speaking either to you or to them of the 
affair which was proposed to me, but probably all is known to them by 
today and they must have made their decision Perhaps all, perhaps only a 
part of them will decide to follow their vocation to the religious state Perhaps 
also they will prefer to enter the ranks of the secular clergy. In the last 
supposition, I declare to you that I want none of them; but in the other 
supposition, I do not believe that you have the right to oppose their leaving. 
These young men are foreigners, they have cost the diocese as such nothing 
at all They came to America to be religious, they have persevered sixteen 
months m their determination. I do not see on what ground you have the 
right to claim them Nevertheless, I do not attach as much importance to the 
acquisition of a few subjects as to the preservation of chanty and, conse- 
quently, I stand only for what can be done without detriment to the union 
which ought to exist between us Be so kind then, as to let me know frankly 
whether you Insist that I have nothing at all to do with any of these young 
men or whether you see your way to a certain number of them, say three or 
four, accompanying me. 

As to the priests already employed in your diocese, I have already had 
the honor to signify to you that I am disposed [ms ? ] to refuse their 

services. 39 

It would appear that Archbishop Marechal made known to Bishop 
Du Bourg that not even a partial recruiting of the White Marsh novices 
for service in the West would meet with his approval. At any rate, 
Du Bourg on returning from Baltimore to Washington had his mind 
made up to break off further negotiations with the Jesuits. But during 
the interval March 10-13 the situation unexpectedly shifted. As the 
Bishop of New Orleans later explained to Archbishop Marechal, the 
Jesuits, using towards him "a sort of violence" (the expression is Du 
Bourg's), prevailed upon him to agree to the transfer of the entire 
personnel of the novitiate, novices and novice-masters, to Missouri. 
Here they were to set up a new mission of the Society of Jesus, which 
was to devote itself to the conversion of the Indians of the West, 

89 Du Bourg a Marechal, Baltimore, March 6, 1823 Baltimore Archdiocesan 


though other apostolic activities were not to be excluded from its range 
of work. To those most intimately concerned in the project. Father 
Van Quickenborne, the master of novices, Father Timmermans, his 
assistant, and the Belgian novices, the news of the proposed transfer 
of the novitiate to Missouri came as a surprise, though not an unwel- 
come one, as they now saw the way open before them to a realiza- 
tion of the hopes which before everything else had brought them to 

Father Charles Neale, superior of the Maryland Jesuits, was at this 
juncture at Portobacco, St. Marys County, Maryland, where he was 
filling the post of chaplain to a community of Carmelite nuns whom 
he had been instrumental in bringing over from Belgium. Unable on 
account of the mortal illness which prostrated him to conduct with 
Bishop Du Bourg the negotiations for the transfer of the novitiate, 
he commissioned Father Benedict Fenwick of Georgetown College, the 
future Bishop of Boston, to discharge this task in his name. Taking 
advantage of their canonical privilege as a body of religious men exempt 
from episcopal jurisdiction to dispose of their men without consulta- 
tion with the diocesan authorities, the Jesuits had not advised Arch- 
bishop Marechal of the arrangements they were to make with Bishop 
Du Bourg. To a letter of inquiry from the Archbishop regarding the 
nature of these arrangements, Father Fenwick wrote to his Grace from 
Georgetown College on March 13, 1823- 

Just returned from Mount Carmel where I have been on a short visit to 
F[r]. Charles, who has been and who still continues very ill. I hasten to 
reply to your Grace's communication which reached here in my absence and 
to afford every information in my power which it calls for. 

The following aic facts which your Grace may rely on At the last 
meeting of the Board of Trustees held at Mount Carmel m consequence of 
the indisposition of the Superior, the whole state of our affairs was taken 
into consideration It was found that the former Superior [Kohlmann] had 
received into the Society more members than it could consistently support; 
and in consequence of this, a very considerable debt had been contracted, 
and that this debt could not be liquidated without suspending for the present 
the novitiate. Accordingly I was directed by the Supenor to write to some 
of the Rt Revd* Prelates of these States to know whether any, and if so, 
how many of the young men, now in their noviceship at the Marsh, they 
would be disposed to receive into their Seminaries for the benefit of their 
respective Dioceses. As soon as I had determined to execute the wish of the 
Superior in this particular, the Rt Rev Bp of New Orleans arrived here. 
I commenced with him and addressed him a letter on the subject. I was led 
to this, principally in consequence of his being on the spot, and could explain 
to him, <wua voce, the motives of the application and the urgent necessity 
that compelled it. About this time Mr. Secretary Calhoun had expressed his 


desire to the Bp to have some Jesuit Missionaries stationed at Council Blufts 
It immediately struck him that this mission, the expenses of which the United 
States would defray, might afford an opening to the Society, and answer the 
double purpose of diminishing our number here and consequently our ex- 
penses, and still of retaining the novices in the Society After various plans, 
some of which have been partially adopted and partially rejected, the follow- 
ing has been finally settled and has received the sanction of the Supenor 
Rev F F [Fathers] Vanquickenborne and Timmermans, the first being 
Master of Novices and the second his Socms, have received orders to start as 
soon as possible with all the novices, seven in number, and repair to St Louis 
and afterwards to Council Bluffs The young men are to be considered as 
novices of the Society and are to continue their noviceship under the direc- 
tion of the above-named Fathers, at the same time that they prepare them- 
selves for their future mission by studying the language, manners and 
customs of the country The Superiors have been led to accept of this new 
mission, in addition to the reasons presented by our present difficulties, by the 
earnest desire of both the Holy Father, the present Pope, and the Rev 
Father General who sent Revd Mr Vanquickenborne to this country ex- 
pressly for the Indian Missions It would seem indeed that D[ivme] Provi- 
dence has a hand in this business, for it was as unexpected to us as it has 
been promptly acted upon It is somewhat smgulai that the Secretary of War 
should make the demand of missionaries, just at the time when we could 
best spare them and offer a support for the same precisely when every other 
means has failed us Whatever the case may be, I can assuie your Grace 
that there is nothing clandestine in the affair that if the transaction wore 
at any time the appeal ance of mystery, it proceeded from our unwillingness 
to let the world know our impoverished state and our embarrassments, the 
public acknowledgment of which might seriously have affected our credit But 
it was far, very far from our mind to wish to conceal anything fiom your 
Grace. The candour with which this letter was written will be sufficient 
evidence of the fact I do not think, either, that even the shadow of blame 
can attach to the Bp of New Orleans in consequence of any part he has 
taken in the promotion of this scheme. It originated entirely with us it was 
a measure of our own it was prepared by us and only accepted by him. Had 
he not accepted, the only consequence (as I now know, but of which I was 
ignorant then) would have been that these young men disappointed in then 
expectation of joining the Society m this country, would have returned to 
their own and sought to be admitted elsewhere So great is their desire of 
becoming Jesuits, that they would never have consented to lemam here as 
secular priests. 40 

40 Benedict Fenwick to Marechal, March 13, 1823 Baltimore Archdiocesan 
Archives The reasons for the transfer of the novitiate are indicated in a letter 
of Benedict Fenwick to the General, Mount Carmel ( For tobacco ), Mav 6, 1823 
These reasons are summarized in Hughes, of cit , Doc, 2. 1025. "Four reasons 
for the transference of the novitiate, etc i Reasons from the side of Mr. Cal- 
houn, Secretary of War, who would otherwise have engaged Protestant missionaries, 
2, The insistence of Mgr. Du Bourg who feared that his successor m the See might 


Having made these explanations to the Archbishop of Baltimore, 
Father Fenwick busied himself with the drafting of an elaborate and 
carefully worded Concordat defining the respective rights and obliga- 
tions of the Jesuits and of the prelate who was to receive them into 
his diocese. There were precedents in the history of the Maryland 
Jesuits that made the framing of a written agreement an obvious step 
to take. Father Grassi, superior of the Maryland Mission, and Arch- 
bishop Neale had been parties to a concordat, while Bishop Conwell 
of Philadelphia had at one time proposed that the activities of the 
Jesuits established in his diocese be regulated by written agreement 41 
Moreover, Msgr. Pedicim, secretary of the Propaganda, on endorsing 
Du Bourg's petition for Jesuit missionaries in 1821, had directed the 
prelate "to define and circumscribe the limits of the mission to be placed 
entirely under the care of the Jesuit Fathers so that no collision or 
disturbance arise subsequently." 42 The signing on March 19, 1823, of 
the agreement between Bishop Du Bourg and Father Charles Neale 
may be taken to mark the birth of the Missouri Mission 4S The text of 
the document, which is necessary for an understanding of subsequent 
events, is here reproduced 

1823, March 19. 
A Concordat or Agreement 

entered into by the Rt, Rev. Louis Wm. DuBourg, Bishop of New Orleans, 
on the one pait, with the Rev. Father Charles Neale, Superior of the 
Society of Jesus in the United States of America, on the other part, respecting 
the Missions about to be undertaken by the said Society in the Diocese of the 
said prelate. 

The Rt. Rev Bishop of New Orleans, animated by the desire of propa- 
gating and extending the Gospel through his extensive diocese, and anxious 
to promote, as much as possible, the temporal as well as the spiritual welfare 
of the numerous savage tribes inhabiting the shores of the Missoun and its 

not favour the Society; 3, The debts of Maryland, which rendered the Novitiate 
a burden on the eastern mission, 4 The unfitness of foreigners for Maryland and 
their fitness for Missoun " A fifth reason "which, might also have contributed some- 
thing to influence Father Neale's determination," is added by Father Fenwick, viz. 
a debire to procure an asylum for the Society in the West, m case the disagreement 
with the Aichbishop of Baltimore over the White Marsh affair should reach, an 
acute stage 

41 Hughes, of cit , Doc, I 301, z 927 

42 Idem, Doc., 2 1014. 

43 The original of the Concordat (in Father Benedict Fenwick's hand and 
with authentic signatures) is in the archives of the Md -N Y Province, S J In 
the same archives is also the original draft, likewise in Fenwick's hand, with cor- 
rections and erasures, and inscribed "a true copy " A copy in Du Bourg's hand, 
signed by himself and Charles Neale, is in the St Louis Archdiocesan Archives. 
Benedict Fenwick was evidently the author of the Concordat 


tributary streams, by conferring on them the benefits and comforts of civiliza- 
tion and at the same time instructing them in the ways of God and opening 
their eyes to the truths of His holy Religion, as taught by Jesus Christ His 
divine Son and proposed by the Church, seizes with joy a proposal made to 
him by the Superior of the Society in the United States, to co-operate with 
him and to carry into effect so laudable a design, by furnishing him with a 
number of able and zealous missionaries, who shall immediately proceed to 
the work And, in order that a fair understanding may always hereafter 
subsist between the Bishop of New Orleans and his successors in the See and 
the Superior of the Society of Jesus and his successors, the following con- 
cordat or agreement is entered into, and has been signed by each of the 
parties, and when approved and ratified by his Holiness as well as by the 
General of the Society in Rome, the same shall be perpetually binding on 
them and their successors 

I The Bishop of New Orleans cedes and surrenders to the Society of 
Jesus for ever, as soon and in proportion as its increase of members enables 
it to undertake the same, the absolute and exclusive care of all the missions 
already established and which shall be hereafter established on the Missoun 
River and its tnbutary streams, comprising within the above grant and 
cession the spiritual direction, agreeably to their holy institute, as well of all 
the white population as of the various Indian tribes inhabiting the above 
mentioned district of country, together with all the churches, chapels, colleges 
and seminaries of learning already erected and which shall hereafter be 
erected, in full conviction of the blessed advantages his diocese will derive 
from the piety, the learning and the zeal of the members of the said religious 
Society Reserving, however, at all times to himself and his successors the 
right of visiting in charity said portions of his diocese, agreeably to the canons 
of the Church in such cases made and provided, also of requumg the 
removal of any member or members of the Society from any post or station 
in the ministry, when such removal for impropriety of conduct is deemed 
by him necessary; and also of requiring upon all occasions, when a Superior 
shall desire to withdraw a member or members from any post of the mission, 
the name of the individual or individuals he appoints to succeed him or them, 
in order that he (the Bishop) may judge of his or their qualifications, etc., 
and empower him or them to exercise jurisdiction accordingly. 44 

2 The Bishop, to enable the Superior and the Society to enter imme- 
diately upon the work so laudably undertaken by them, engages to cede and 
transfer to said Society all right and title to a tract of valuable land at 
Florissant, of which he is now legal propnetor, consisting of three hundred 
and fifty acres or thereabouts, with all its buildings and improvements, and 
to make over the same immediately in such way and to such peison or per- 
sons, in trust for the Society, as the Superior shall think fit 4C 

M "And also requiring, etc." Father Fortis suggested a modification of thii 
item Cf mfra, Chap IV, 7. 

45 The signing of the Concordat was followed by a bond of conveyance dated 


3. The Bishop furthermore pledges and hereby binds himself and his 
successors to support, encouiage and promote to the best of his ability, and 
with such pecuniary aid, collections and donations, as his circumstances and 
means will allow, the missions herein ceded to the Society and their respective 
establishments, colleges, seminaries, churches, etc., which are and which shall 
be hereafter made and erected, and especially the seminary immediately to 
be commenced on the above mentioned tract of land at Florissant. 

4 The Superior of the Society on the other hand engages himself to send 
immediately to Florissant, in the State of Missoun, two Priests of the Society 
of Jesus, with seven young men, candidates for the same, for the purpose 
of forming an establishment there, which shall serve for the present as a 
semmaiy of preparation for the objects above specified, He promises more- 
over to send, with the above, two or three lay-brothers of the same Society, 
with at least four or five negroes to be employed m preparing and providing 
the additional buildings that may be found necessary, and in cultivating the 
land of the above mentioned farm 

5 The Supei 101 also engages that, at the expiration of two years, count- 
ing from the time of their arnval, four or five, at least, missionaries duly 
qualified shall pioceed to the remote missions, (i e ) to the Indian settle- 
ments in the vicinity of Council Bluffs, and shall there labour towards the 
attainment of the gieat object specified above for the greater honor and glory 
of God. 

6 The Superior pledges himself to foster and promote, as much as he is 
able, the above mentioned missions with their several departments; and, 
until it shall be deemed necessary for the gi eater good of the mission to fix 
upon some other site for the principal residence of the Society engaged in 
this mission, to retain at the establishment at Florissant at least two capable 
Fathers, whose chief care it shall be to superintend and to diiect the same, 
in qualifying the youth who shall offer themselves, and who shall have been 

sant to Francis Neale, "ab the assign of said Charles Neale," "as soon as it shall 
have been duly notified to me that his Holiness the Pope has ratified the Concordat 
entered upon between me, etc " A statement from the Bishop, of the same date as 
the bond of conveyance, explains that the money consideration of four thousand 
dollars specified in the said bond is merely nominal, "the true consideration," to 
cite Hugheb's paraphrase, "being the articles of the aforesaid Concordat, which, if 
executed here by Ncale and approved by Rome must be considered full equivalent 
for the farm*" Hughes, of. cit , Doc., 2. 1024. In the deed of transfer of the 
Florissant property executed in favor of Father Van Quickenborne under date of 
May 25, 1825, the consideiation is specified as five thousand dollars, also a mere 
paper figuic. 

Article l of the Concordat overstates the size of the Florissant farm The deed 
of transfer of May 25, 1825, describes it as "being four arpens wide and about 
sixty in length containing two hundred and fifty arpens or thereabouts," approxi- 
mately two hundred and twelve acres. The Bishop acquired the tract m two sec- 
tions, purchasing one section from Joseph James (1818) and the other from Father 
Joseph Marie Dunand, the Trappist pastor of Florissant (18x9) (A). Father Van 
Quickenborne estimated "its highest value, abstraction being made of our improve- 
ments" at two thousand dollars 


received there with the approbation of the Supenor, foi the puipose of the 

7 The Bishop of New Orleans m his desne of promoting the establish- 
ment about to be commenced at Florissant, and to benefit the mission at 
large, obligates himself and his successors to pay into the hands of the chief 
of the mission whatever sum or sums of money the United States Govern- 
ment shall think fit to advance, and to apply towards this object, and to 
transmit to the same whatevei sum or sums it shall hereafter appropnate, 
and as long as it shall continue to appropriate it or them, towards the 
fuitheiance of the work of God in this section. 

In confirmation of this mutual agreement this instrument is signed by 
both parties 

Geoige Town, Dist of Cl a , March 19, AD, 1823 

*L Wm DuBourg, B p of N Oi leans 

Chailes Neale, Supenor of the Mission of 
the Society of Jesus in the United States 
of America 46 

The signing of the Concordat had now committed both the Society 
of Jesus and Bishop Du Bourg to the establishment of a new Jesuit 
mission west of the Mississippi. Two days after the event Du Bourg 
wrote from the "Monastery of the Visitation," Georgetown, to his 
Grace of Baltimore 

After the painful explanations which passed between us at Baltimoie, 
wheie, despite the testimony of my conscience, I did not have the happiness 
of being able to convince you of my innocence in the affan of the Jesuits, I 
came here firmly [resolved?] to accept none of their propositions I so de- 
clared myself on my arrival to F[ather] Ben [edict] F[enwick] 3 who left 
immediately to carry my decision to his Supenor. Two days latei I saw 
Father Van Quickenborne anive at my lodging He was on his way back 
from Port Tobacco and informed me to my inexpressible sui prise that lie 
had orders from his Supenor to start with his Socms and all his novices. At 
first I could make out nothing of what he said, from my previous knowledge 
that the plan of the Superiors was to break up the Novitiate He explained 
matters to me by saying that on the news of this plan i caching White 
Marsh the novices had declared that they would die rather than quit the 
Society and that m consequence the Superior had decided to keep them 
together and have them set out with their Master to go to open an establish- 
ment on the Missouri for the Indian Missions In vain did I speak against 

46 In Du Bourg's bond of conveyance of the Florissant faim dated March 25, 
1823, it is stated that the Concordat was "entered upon" March 19, 1823, at 
Mt Carmel (Portobacco), Md , where Father Charles Neale usually resided, the 
place deriving its name from the convent of Carmelite nuns whose spiritual direc- 
tion he took into his hands 


the project Mr Van Q[uickenborne] answered me that he recognized only 
the voice of the Superior, to whom he had vowed obedience, that he would 
leave, and once arrived at his destination would abandon himself to Provi- 
dence for what was to follow Soon after F[ather] Ben [edict] F[enwick] 
arrived and confirmed the news of these arrangements 

All this, Monseigneur, led me to leflect that since Providence seemed to 
be at work in this affau in order to procure for a horde of heathen nations 
scattered throughout my diocese the boon of Faith which I had no hope of 
procuring for them otherwise, I had no nght to set myself m opposition, that 
I had done nothing to obtain this assistance, unless it was to pray God to send 
me assistance, of whatever sort it might be I thought I saw m this disposi- 
tion of affairs the icalization of the words addressed to me by the Pope, 
when I had the happiness of seeing him for the first time and of laying before 
him the state of my Mission, "You have need of Jesuits " Then too, by a 
singular coincidence these words were repeated to me here by the Secretary 
of War, when he dealt with me in the matter of the Indian missions 

On the other hand, it seems to me that the Jesuits have the right to 
dispose of their subjects m favor of a field of work for which they are par- 
ticularly destined And F[ather] Ben [edict] Fenwick assures me that the 
local Supenoi does nothing else m this affair but obey the orders of his 
General, who in several letteis has expressed his surprise that a beginning 
has not yet been made of these missions You are not unaware, Monseigneur, 
that it is the Society which laid the fiist foundations of the faith in the 
Illinois country, the tradition of their labois is still preserved there among 
the native tribes. How, then, could I resist the pressing offers which were 
made to me, or lather the soit of violence which the Jesuits are using today 
to force me to accept what I have always desned with the greatest eager- 
ness but which out of delicacy and regaid for you I had decided to refuse 

I know, moreover, that they are so firmly resolved on this couise that 
any opposition of mine would be useless and that they would go and offer 
their services for the Indians of the Mississippi countiy who aie dependent 
on the see of Cincinnati rather than let slip the opportunity to devote 
themselves to this noble work, and so I should lose them for my diocese, 
while you would gam nothing for your own 

Lastly, the Jesuits are already so numerous in young subjects, having 
30 scholastics, besides 25 or 30 priests and novices, that I do not know how 
they can employ them all, unless by scattering them They allege that they 
cannot meet the expenses involved m the support of so many persons, a 
reason which certainly admits of no reply, for it is quite clear that they 
ought to know their own affairs. Your diocese will never be able to employ 
even those who will be left to you Accordingly, I cannot see in this affair 
any prejudice to its interests. Finally, all these young men are entire for- 
eigners, and have come to America only in the hope of being assigned to the 
Indian missions. 

In view of all these considerations, Monseigneur, I have acquiesced in 
the wishes of the Society. I confess to you that in doing so I have felt keenly 
the pain of finding myself m opposition to your views. But persuaded on 


the one hand that m this affair I was not infringing on any of your rights 
and on the other that a calm and considerate examination of all the cir- 
cumstances would in the end convince you of the rectitude of my conduct, 
I surrender myself m all this to Divine Providence, beseeching it, as we are 
both looking to its greater glory, never to permit the bond of fraternal 
charity to loosen between us, a bond which ought especially to unite Pastors 
employed m different places in the same undertaking 

The letter, extracts of which were read to me by Mr de Cl , has 

reassured me in my fears on this score. I see in it with infinite consolation 
a charitable feeling such as I have always been led to expect in a heait as 
virtuous as your own, and it inspires me with confidence that the new 
arrangements which I have just communicated to you will not depuve of 
your friendship a brother who values it most highly 47 

Evidence of the satisfaction which Bishop Du Bourg now felt over 
the happy termination of the negotiations extending over many years 
which he had carried on with the Society of Jesus with a view to procur- 
ing its services for his diocese comes to the surface m two letters which 
he penned at Baltimore on Easter Sunday, March 29, 1823, one ad- 
dressed to the Cardinal Prefect of the Propaganda and the other to the 
Father General of the Jesuits These letters throw so intimate a light 
on the sentiments of the zealous prelate at this juncture of affairs that 
they are here reproduced though both rehearse events with which we 
have already become familiar. 

In a letter to Propaganda which accompanied the two copies of the 
Concordat forwarded to Rome the Bishop said 

To develop Catholic Missions among the many Indian tribes which 
roam far and wide along the banks of the Missouri river, I have likewise 
obtained from the Government an annual subsidy of eight hundred dollais, 
with promise of an increase in proportion to the development of the work, 
and a hint was given me that the Government would be pleased to sec 
the Fathers of the Society of Jesus take up these missions, for every bod} 
knows what success in the past rewarded their labors for the civilization of 
the savage in the various paits of the world, and a tender remembiance 
of them has survived among the Missouri nations It appeared to me quite 
a remarkable coincidence that the opinion of our Protestant government 
men echoes so well that of his Holiness, for, when I was m Rome and 
described to him the condition of my diocese, he at once, as moved by the 
spmt of prophecy, added "Secure the help of the Fathers of the Society, 
you will find their services most useful in those Missions." 

Now, by a stroke of Divine Providence, it happened that just at that 
time the Superior of the Society of Jesus in Maryland, overburdened by the 
number of his men and by debts, was thinking seriously of lightening by 
any means the burden of that Province. No sooner had he heard of 

47 Du Bourg a Marechal, Georgetown, March 21, 1823 Baltimore Archdio- 
cesan Archives. 


these far away Missions, and of the wishes of the Government, than he 
offered me two of his Fathers, with seven young men and a few lay 
Brothers, to start on the banks of the Missouri, a Seminary, that would 
take charge of these Missions Your Eminence is well aware of the efforts 
which I had made for seven years, in order to bring over the Society of 
Jesus, as I was all along firmly convinced that this was for me the only 
means that could enable me to help not only the infidel Savages, but also 
the numerous bands of farmers who are unceasingly moving to the banks 
of the Missouri from various parts of the United States. Your Eminence 
may then easily realize how pleasant to my ears was this proposal How- 
ever, to consolidate this foundation, and forestall all evils which might arise 
later on from vanous misunderstandings I have deemed it necessary to 
make a contract with the Society, herewith are two copies of this contract, 
submitted to the judgment of the S [acred] Congregation and of the Father 
General. 48 

Bishop Du Bourg's letter to the Jesuit Father General, Aloysms 
Fortis, which accompanied a Latin translation of the Concordat, details 
the circumstances that gave occasion to that notable document 

Very Reverend Father 

Although the answer of your Paternity to the Sacred Congregation 
of the Propaganda concerning the request I made for some subjects of your 
company for the missions of my diocese seemed calculated to extinguish 
any hope I may have had of obtaining them, there ever remained deep 
down m my heart enough of hope to encourage me to continue my 
supplications, at least before God I thought I heard in this connection the 
voice of J[esus] C[hnst] repeating to me "et si per sever averts pulsans 
propter improbrtatem autem dabunt" 49 

Not in vain, so it seems to me, has God inspired me from my infancy 
with an affection for your Society which age has only deepened and which 
has kept alive m me, despite so many difficulties and obstacles, the most 
ardent desne of seeing it established in the diocese committed to my un- 
worthy hands, I was confirmed in these reflections by the recollection of the 
words addressed to me by his Holiness the first time I had the honor of 
prostrating myself at his feet, words which I have always looked upon as 
prophetic, as they expressed the very idea I was cherishing in the depths of 
my heart, but had as yet no time to disclose to him 50 

Following up this intelligence, which I welcomed with the greatest 
eagerness, his Holiness deigned to give me a letter signed with his own 
hand for your predecessor of venerable memory, Reverend Father Thad- 

48 Du Bourg ad Em Card. Praef , Sac Congr. de Propaganda Fide, Baltimore, 
March 29, 1823 Tr. m SLCHR, 313*- 

* 9 "And if you persist in knocking, they will hear your prayer on account of 
your importunity." A paraphrase of Luke, XI, 8. 

50 Supra, Du Bourg a Marechal, March 21, 1823. Baltimore Archdiocesan 


dtus Bizozowski, earnestly recommending to him my mission I have several 
lettcis from the latter m which he promised to send me some subjects as 
soon as political conditions should allow of it Death, which took him off 
from your Society, put an obstacle in the way of his good designs, but did 
not dissipate my hopes In fine, Reverend Father, the divme goodness 
which avails itself of every means to ainve at its merciful ends, has, just 
at the moment I was least expecting it, realized all my wishes in this 

Affairs of great importance for my diocese having made it necessary 
for me to come and pass the winter at the seat of Government, I thought 
it my duty to profit by the favorable dispositions which the leading officials 
showed in my regard to try to obtain some pecuniary assistance for the 
establishment of missions among the heathen Indians, who aie numerous 
in the upper reaches of my immense diocese My petition having been gra- 
ciously received, nothing remained for me to do but to procure some very 
devoted missionaries to undertake so difficult a task I spoke a woid on the 
subject to some of your Fathers of Maryland, who assured me that cir- 
cumstances favored my speaking about it to the Superior and that they 
had no doubt I should obtain my request and m a greater measure even 
than I could reasonably ask As a matter of fact, your Society m Maryland 
finding itself involved in debts as a consequence of having received too 
many subjects which it was obliged to support, the Superior and his council 
were at the time busily engaged over the design they had formed to 
dissolve the novitiate, which consisted of seven Flemish subjects of great 
piety, most of them highly talented and advanced in their theological 
studies The opening up of the Indian Mission altered this plan of dissolu- 
tion The Superior judged with reason that of all the subjects of the 
Society in this country, few combined in a higher degree than these young 
men the qualifications necessary to succeed in such an enterprise He accord- 
ingly made up his mind to offer them to me, as a step that would harmonize 
the interests of all concerned But as they cannot be sent immediately on 
the mission, since they have still six or seven months of novitiate and at 
least two years of theology to fill out, the conclusion was reached to send 
them under the conduct of their master of novices, Father Van Quicken- 
borne and of his socius, Father Timmermans, to establish in the neighbor- 
hood of the Mission a seminary of probation and preparation foi the 

To co-operate with the designs of the Superior I assumed the obliga- 
tion of giving to the Society for the establishment thereon of the seminary, 
a beautiful farm, which, properly cultivated, can suffice for the support of 
a sufficiently large number of persons The government adds thereto 800 
Roman crowns [eight hundred dollars] a year Providence will supply 
the rest. And as I have grounds for hoping that the establishment will 
go on increasing, it was proposed, with a view to avoid disagreeable friction 
in the future, to draw up a concordat between the Superior and myself, 
which, on being confirmed by the Holy See and your Paternity, may 
regulate forever the respective rights of the Bishop and of the Society. The 


Father Superior is to transmit to you an authentic copy of it written in 
English I have the honor of sending you the Latin and a copy of the same 
addressed by me to the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda I dare hope 
from the spirit which inspires you, my Reverend Father, that you will 
kindly give your sanction to this establishment, consider it as a house of 
the Society and extend over it, especially during its infancy, your vigilant 
protection Your Paternity will be kept informed as to its beginnings and 
progress so that you may be able to judge of the measures it will be proper 
to take in order to consolidate and maintain it in the true spirit of St Igna- 
tius and Saints Xaviei and Regis. What gives me most confidence is that 
the whole pious colony share the same ideas, being composed of subjects 
of the same nation, who are filled, all of them, with the desire of conse- 
ci ating themselves under obedience to the most trying labors 

A yeai from now it may perhaps be necessary to send from Europe 
a proftssed father of the final vows, of talent joined with experience, to 
take in hand the dnection of the establishment, Messrs Van Quickenborne 
and Timmermans having as yet taken only their first vows I should be 
delighted weie your choice to fall on Father Barat, at present master of 
novices m your Pans house, who has always manifested the liveliest desire 
to come and die in this Mission 51 

For the rest, I submit the articles of our Concordat with entire con- 
fidence to the wisdom of the Sacred Congregation, to the authority of the 
Holy See and to the enlightened judgment of your Paternity 

I beg you to recommend me as also my flock to the Holy Sacrifices 
offeied in your Society and to the fervent prayers of the house of San 
Andica 52 

I am with deep veneration and smceie devotion, 

Very Rev. Father, 

Your veiy humble and obedient servant, 

Baltimore, L William Du Bourg, 

Easter Day, 1823. Bishop of New Oi leans C3 

Preparations were at once made to set the western expedition on 
foot Though Bishop Du Bourg had engaged to furnish the Jesuit party 
with a home when they should have reached their destination, he had 
not engaged to defray the expenses of the thousand miles of travelling 
that lay before them. On the other hand, the Maryland Mission was 
unable to contribute adequate funds for the purpose Two hundred 
dollars was all it could spare from its almost depleted treasury. Hence, 
nothing remained for Father Van Quickenborne, who was named supe- 
rior of the party, but to beg the money which was available in no other 
way. But if the Bishop of Louisiana was not in a position to furnish 

Cl Supra) note 12 

52 San Andrea, the Jesuit novitiate in Rome 

53 Du Bourg a Fortis, Baltimore, jour de Paques (March 29), 1823 (C). 


means for the journey to the West, he did his best to enable the Jesuit 
superior to secure them readily from others. On Easter Sunday, 1823, 
he penned a number of letters of introduction with which Father Van 
Quickenborne was to make the rounds of the principal cities of the East 
These letters, descending as they do to numerous particulars, are charac- 
teristic of the energetic prelate, who was never more in his element 
than when arranging on paper the details of some cherished plan. They 
were addressed among others to Bishop Conwell of Philadelphia, 
Bishop Du Bois of New York, and Father Roloff, pastor of the German 
congregation of Trinity Church, Philadelphia. In New York, Mr. 
Bernard Eyquem, whom Du Bourg commends as one of the most 
zealous laymen of the city, was requested by the prelate to accompany 
Van Quickenborne on his rounds In Philadelphia Father Roloff was 
asked to render a similar service. "I must claim of your chanty/ 5 the 
Bishop wrote to him, "to accompany and introduce him [Van Quicken- 
borne] to all houses (either Catholic or Protestant) of your city, where 
you may expect to get a mite. I am sensible that it is an unpleasant 
task, but I know your devotedness to the cause of religion, and that 
the dread of some rebuffs will not curb your zeal for its promotion " G4 
As to Baltimore, the Bishop wrote to Van Quickenborne- 

Do not fail on your return from Philadelphia, to offer your respects 
to the Archbishop, ask him humbly not to take it amiss that you continue 
your begging m Baltimore. Visit also the gentlemen of the Seminary I 
have spoken to Messrs. Robert and John Oliver, who have promised to 
aid you Mr. Caton will be able to give a list of the principal Protestant 
houses which it would be well to visit, perhaps he may have the kindness 
to introduce you at these places himself 55 I will ask it of him , do you 
make a similar request. As soon as you have collected $700 or $800, it 
will be proper, I think, to forward the same to Father Benedict Fenwick, 
so that he may dispatch your confreres at once. But for youiself, keep on 
begging as long as anything comes of it You will have great need of money 
in the beginning. 56 

The way thus prepared for him by Du Bourg, Van Quickenborne 
visited the principal cities of the East, collecting in a short time between 
nine hundred and a thousand dollars. 57 Means for the journey were 

54 Du Bourg to Roloff, Baltimore, Easter Sunday, 1823. (A). 

55 The Mr Caton of the text was Richard Caton, an Englishman, son-m-law of 
Charles Carroll of Carrollton, last survivor of the signers of the Declaration of 

50 Du Bourg a Van Quickenborne, Baltimore, St jour de Paques (March 2cA 
1823. (A). 

67 Van Quickenborne had $963 with him when he left the East for Missouri 
He had, besides, promissory notes to his credit to the aggregate amount of $432 50 
which were to be paid to a Mr. Charles Hill and forwarded by him to Florissant. 


thus at hand and there was nothing to delay its inception. Accordingly, 
on the morning of April n, 1823, Van Quickenborne and his party 
left White Marsh behind them and took the road to Baltimore on their 
way to Missouri. The superior carried with him a set of instructions 
drawn up by Benedict Fenwick in the name of Father Charles Neale 

I Rev Mr Van Quickenboine is desired by the Superior to take 
charge of the Mission enti listed by the Bishop of New Orleans, agreeably 
to the Concotdat lately signed by them mutually, to the Society on the 

2 To set off with Rev. Mr. Timmermans, his Assistant, the seven 
novices at the Marsh, three brotheis, viz Bis. Stiahan, Henry [Reiselman] 
and De Meyci, with six negroes fiom the Marsh plantation, as soon as he 
possibly can for Flonssant. 

3 To wtite to him when ai rived at Wheeling, also at St Louis and 
also at Florissant. 

4 To show on all occasions the utmost deference and respect to the 
opinions of the Bishop of New Orleans into whose diocese he is about to 
enter, in all matters wheie the interests of the Mission are concerned and 
where the mteicsts of the Institute aic not infringed upon. His knowledge 
of the country, his talents, his piety and zeal will be a sure and safe guide, 
when doubts, difficulties and uncertainties arise 

5 To execute the Concoidat, as far as it belongs to the Society 

6 To ducct those entrusted to his care especially who are of the 
Society with prudence, chanty, wisdom and disci etion. 59 

It was inevitable that such a startling development in the affairs 
of the Maryland Mission as this western adventure should soon meet 
with comment in Jesuit domestic correspondence of the period. Some- 
thing of a mystery to those who heard of it from afar with no ade- 
quate knowledge of the circumstances that had prompted it, it was seen 
in most quarters m the light of a providential turn, from which much 
good was to issue in the future. "I congratulate them," wrote Father 
Kohlmann, the former superior of the Maryland Mission} "I am sorry 
for us, but may God's will be done, Who knows how to turn all things 
into good." From Italy, Father Grassi, another one-time supenor 
of the Maryland Mission, expressed to Kohlmann his wonder at the 
perplexing news, "Good Godf what news have I heard from a late 
letter of F[athcrJ D^icrozynski and Father Sacchu about the pitiful 
state of our affairs in America, The novices gone to the State of Missis- 
sippi [sic] at Council Bluffs! ! it is an enigma for me as well as many 

**Htst. Mtss. Missounonae. (Ms.). (A). 

" (A)- 

60 Kohlmann ad Fortis, Washington, May I, 1823. (AA). 


other things." cl To Father Peter Kenney, recent Visitor of the Jesuits 
in America and now residing in Dublin, the measure seemed inoppor- 
tune and a wrong stroke of policy on the part of the Maryland superiors. 
"But," he reflected, "I have strong hopes that God will do much with 
the little band gone to Florissant." 62 On the other hand, Father Rant- 
zau, writing to the General from Maryland, was filled with appre- 
hension over the future lot of the emigrants "They could not live 
at White Marsh on three thousand acres How can they live there on 
three hundred? They trust in Providence But the ordinary means of 
Providence, men and money, are lacking there, since the region is but 
thinly populated " 63 The trust in Providence that upheld the partici- 
pants in the adventure was amply justified by the event. 


The incidents involved in the transfer of the novitiate need to be 
told with further detail if the episode is to be seen in its proper light. 
As to the part taken in it by Father Van Quickenborne, this is indicated 

61 Grassi to Kohlmann, Turin, February 27, 1824 (B) 

62 Kenney to McElroy, Dublin, September 4, 1823 (B) 

63 Rantzau ad Fortis, May 2, 1823 (AA) The strained relations existing at 
this period between Archbishop Marechal of Baltimore and the Maryland Jesuits 
as a result of the controversy over the White Marsh property are reflected in the 
view the prelate took of the withdrawal from his diocese of the Jesuit contingent 
secured by Du Bourg for Missouri On March 15, only a few days after the trans- 
fer of the noviceship to the West had been agreed upon, he wrote to Father 
Anthony Kohlmann, at that time superior of the Jesuit theological seminary in 
Washington "I am more intimately convinced than ever that the good of religion 
in general and of my diocese and above all the interests of the Society demand that 
the projected emigration from Maryland be carried out in successive detachments 
without noise or parade This method of procedure will be just as efficacious and 
advantageous for Msgr Du Bourg and the Society as the plan suddenly concocted 
in secret between the prelate and [Rev ] Mr Ben [edict] FenwicL" Later, in 
April, Archbishop Marechal requested Father Kohlmann to use his influence to 
prevent Van Quickenborne and the rest of his party from going to Mi&soun, "at 
least some of them that it might not be said that the noviceship was transferred 
there for," he said, "the people will think that I am the cause of the Jesuits leav- 
ing the diocese " Moreover, to Father Robert Gradwell, rector of the English Col- 
lege in Rome, he wrote to express his disapproval of Du Bourg's action in the 
Missouri affair "Msgr Du Bourg's project is regarded here by persons of experi- 
ence as chimerical They think, and not without reason, that the real purpose of 
the prelate is to make a little display in the newspapers of Europe and under pre- 
text of the conversion of the Indians to make collections m Europe and elsewhere " 
Hughes, op cit , Doc , Part II There seems to be no reason to question Du Bourg's 
sincerity in his plans for the conversion of the Indians, though the undertaking, 
while not chimerical, was certainly beset with more difficulties than the sanguine 
prelate reckoned with. 


in a previously cited letter of Bishop Du Bourg's and is still further 
elucidated in a brief statement of the affair which Van Quickenborne 
penned for the Father General According to this statement the closing 
of the novitiate had been urged upon Father Neale by Fathers Benedict 
Fenwick and Adam Marshall, by whose advice he was, so Van Quicken- 
borne alleges, principally guided in the whole transaction The superior 
had previously directed the novices to write to their families in Belgium 
for financial help They had done so but without result, and Father 
Neale thereupon issued an order, which was communicated to Van 
Quickenborne, for the closing of the novitiate and the dismissal of the 
novices. But no sooner was the order issued than the superior re- 
gretted his action and immediately dispatched a second letter revok- 
ing the instructions contained m the first, only a few days having inter- 
vened between the two communications The instructions first issued 
were to the effect that Fathers Van Quickenborne and Timmermans 
were to proceed to Council Bluffs on the Missouri River and there open 
an Indian mission, the novices being at the same time sent away. Van 
Quickenborne kept all this a profound secret from the young men, 
intending to visit the superior at Portobacco within a few days and 
there prevail upon him, if possible, to retain the novices at White 

Meanwhile, later designs were formed involving not the absolute 
suppression of the noviceship, but its transfer to another part of the 
United States. But Van Quickenborne hoped to suspend the execution 
of even this alternative plan and to maintain the noviceship at White 
Marsh He had it in mind to represent to the superior that while 
circumstances had made it necessary for the novitiate community "to 
live very poorly for a while," sufficient income had been received during 
the past half year from the pew-rents of the White Marsh church and 
from offerings of the laity to enable the community "to live as others, 
to wit, well provided with all things (de omnibus <)am bene prowst) " 
Moreover, there was every prospect that with funds promised by certain 
friends the present number of novices could be brought through their 
studies without expense to the Society. 04 

It is not unlikely that here was only another instance of Father 
Van Quickenborne's characteristic optimism in financial matters, an 
optimism that did not always commend itself to his associates. His man- 
agement of the White Marsh farm had been accounted, rightly or 
wrongly, one of the chief causes of the heavy load of debt that precipi- 
tated the present crisis. It was, therefore, scarcely probable that any 
sanguine view of his as to the practicability of continuing the novitiate 

"Van Quickenborne ad Fort is, April, 1823. (AA). 


would induce Father Neale to reverse the decision he had already 
taken. As a matter of fact, when Van Quickenborne presented himself 
before the superior at Portobacco, Father Benedict Fenwick being pres- 
ent at the interview, he was not allowed to make any representations at 
all, but was told peremptorily that the decision for the transfer of the 
novitiate was final and that he and the novices must prepare to emigrate 
It is obvious, then, from Van Quickenborne's own account that his 
departure from Maryland was involuntary, but in the sense only that 
it ran counter to his own views as to what was the proper solution of 
the difficulties in which White Marsh was then involved. Acquiescing 
though he did in the mandate of his superior, he would nevertheless 
have preferably continued the struggle to maintain the noviceship where 
it was until the young men should have completed their studies and so 
qualified themselves for immediate service in the Indian mission field, 
the desire of which had never lapsed either in the master of novices or 
in the novices themselves. 

Regarding the role played by the Belgian youths in a development 
which concerned them more intimately than anybody else, it would 
appear that they, too, had merely to acquiesce in a fait accompli The 
transfer of the novitiate had been determined upon independently of 
them and without their knowledge or consent, the superior having evi- 
dently judged that nothing in the circumstances required their previous 
agreement to the measure taken. One of their number, recording these 
events in later years, spoke of the outburst of approval with which they 
greeted the news, which apparently broke upon them suddenly, of the 
impending removal of the novitiate. "We left home and country for 
the Indians," they exclaimed. "The Indians are in the West. To the 
West let us go." 65 Moreover, to borrow Father Van Quickenborne's 
expression, the Belgian candidates had been "disposed of" by the ar- 
rangement made between the Bishop and the superior, and he later 
alleged this as a reason why special consideration should be shown 
to the group by admitting them to the Jesuit vows after the customary 
two years of probation had run its course. 66 On the other hand, an 
apparently different version of the novices' relation to the affair is 
furnished by Father Van Quickenborne himself in the above cited 
report transmitted by him to the Father General. This report is to the 
effect that the migration of the novices turned on a spontaneous offer 
on their part to follow Bishop Du Bourg to the West. "But the novices, 
unaware of the measure under consideration and knowing that Bishop 
Du Bourg was asking for some of Ours for the Indian Mission, pleaded 
with Reverend Father Superior to be sent to the Indians at Council 

* 5 De Smet, History of the Missouri Mission (Ms ) . (A) . 
60 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, July 25, 1823 (B). 


Bluffs To this he very readily consented, but he forbade them to take 
their vows without the permission of your Very Reverend Paternity." 67 
This, it would seem, is the only bit of contemporary testimony to sup- 
port the explanation that the removal to the West was not so much 
imposed on the novices as permitted to them at their own request. 
Other statements of Van Quickenborne explain the affair in a different 
sense. In any case it is to be noted that the young men were to leave 
their White Marsh home with no sense of having been driven from 
its shelter but rather in a mood which Van Quickenborne described as 
one of "exultation," so fascinating was the prospect of missionary enter- 
prise in the distant West that now opened up before them. 

As to the transfer of the novitiate and the negotiations with Bishop 
Du Bourg, it is evident that Father Neale acted without the explicit 
approval of the Father General. The proposal to dose the novitiate 
as the only avenue of escape from impending financial rum came orig- 
inally, it would seem, from Father Adam Marshall, procurator of 
the Maryland Mission. 08 As already stated, Father Dzierozynski, on 
making the visitation of White Marsh in 1822, came to hear of the 
proposed measure, but declared that it might not be carried out without 
formal permission from the Father General. 09 This permission Father 
Neale appears to have solicited, but without receiving a response. 
Successive letters of the Maryland superior to Rome had miscarried 
and for a year or two preceding the spring of 1823 he had been left 
without any word whatever from general headquarters. At this juncture 
the project of the new mission in the West suddenly loomed up and 
action upon it could scarcely be deferred. The opportunity of relieving 
the financial distress of the Maryland Mission which now presented 
itself could not reasonably be allowed to slip by. Moreover, the plan 
contemplated not the absolute closing of the noviceship, but its transfer 
to another part of the country Impossible, then, as he found it was 
to act in the affair concurrently with the General, Father Neale was 
led to negotiate with Bishop De Bourg on his own responsibility, hoping 
to obtain from Rome a subsequent ratification of the arrangement made 
by him. He proceeded, therefore, with the reasonably presumed per- 
mission of the Father General, a lawful mode of procedure when 
communication is no longer possible between subject and superior. The 
ratification of his act came promptly, being communicated by Father 
Fortis to Bishop Du Bourg in a letter of date as early as July 25, 1823. 
For some reason or other a similar communication was not conveyed 
to the Maryland superior himself 5 at least no evidence of such is to be 

67 Van Quickenborne ad Fortis, April, 1823 (AA). 
8 &^*, Chap. V, 5. 
69 Ibidem. 


met with in the General's letter-books. Father Fortis said m his letter to 
the Bishop of Louisiana 

The approbation of the Sacred Congregation does not appear to me 
to be doubtful, but as affairs of this soit are always long drawn out, I do 
not wish to delay any longer, Monseigneur, m assuring you that for my 
part I enter most readily into your Lordship's views and accept with eagei- 
ness the project which you have conceived, a project the carrying out of 
which will result, I hope, in great gam to our holy religion The articles 
drawn up by your Lordship are all of them replete with wisdom and calcu- 
lated to prevent misunderstanding, always a source of unpleasantness I 
subscribe to the articles without the least difficulty and confine myself to the 
request that a clause be added, etc . . It only remains for me, Monseigneur, 
to witness to your Lordship my deep gratitude for the singular token of 
esteem and confidence which you have shown towards our Society m this 
mission It is through your enterpnsmg zeal that the door to new conquests 
for the Church of Jesus Christ is again to be thiown open to us and that 
we are to march in the footprints of our Fathers who have watered these 
lands with their sweat To announce the Gospel to the heathen is the proper 
work of our Institute, the work which our holy founder had most at heart 
What, then, must not be our indebtedness to your Loidship for furnishing 
us the means of taking up this work again? I legard it as an admirable 
disposition of Divine Providence that the state of our affans m Maryland 
has facilitated the execution of a project which was always an object of my 
desire, but m the way of which I saw a number of difficulties Believe me, 
Monseigneur, that this precious establishment which is going to take shape 
in Louisiana under your auspices will be the object of all my solicitude and 
I shall neglect nothing to make it prosper I do not know whether Father 
Barat, who has not himself taken his vows, can be sent within a year to 
take charge of this establishment, but I shall see to it that his depaituie be 
not put off too long or in case of unforeseen difficulty that some one else of 
equal usefulness be sent I need not recommend this infant foundation to 
your Lordship I have learned that all the individuals who are to make up 
its personnel started out courageously on that long and painful journey and 
at this moment have probably reached their destination rich in good will but 
in great want of other things But your Lordship will have a care of his weak 
and bring it to peifection, theieby acquiring fresh titles to our gratitude and 
to the prayers which we daily address to heaven for ow benefactois 70 

It was suggested at the time in quarters not reputed friend!) to 
the Jesuits that the decisive reason behind the dispatch of the novices to 
the West was not financial distress but friction between the two groups, 
American and European, that made up the personnel of the Maryland 
Mission. Nothing in the pertinent documentary sources bears out this 

70 Fortis ad Du Bourg, July 25, 1823 (AA). See mjra, Chap. IV, 7, for 
further citations from this letter 


interpretation of what occurred. The General, Father Fortis, in a casual 
reference to the incident, alleged economic distress as the obvious and 
self-sufficient reason for the closing of White Marsh. 71 There is also the 
testimony of Father Kohlmann, himself a European of Alsatian birth 

To the fact that the novitiate was suppressed on account of lack of 
means I am an eye-witness, besides, that the suppression was not due to 
domestic dissensions between the American and foieign Jesuits, is clear 
from the fact that the prejudices shown by the American Jesuits extended 
for more than twenty years back and still, during all that time, new foreign 
novices continued to be admitted, nor did Msgr Du Bourg take a hand m 
the affair before it had been decreed absolutely to dissolve the novitiate 72 

It is true that a lack of sympathy was long shown by the native 
American Jesuits towards the recruits who came at intervals from 
continental Europe to reenforce their meagre numbers. This attitude 
had its origin, it may be conjectured, partly in a narrow nationalism, 
which in the wake of the War of Independence was widespread m the 
one-time English colonies, but it seems to have been also due to an 
impression, supposedly borne out by experience, that Jesuits from Con- 
tinental Europe, m view of their antecedents, imperfect knowledge of 
English and presumed lack of appreciation of American life and char- 
acter, were seriously incapacitated for working to good purpose among 
a people that was still overwhelmingly of Anglo-American stock Time 
was to demonstrate the unsoundness of this view, as the various immi- 
grant groups underwent a process of gradual Americanization, casting 
off racial idiosyncrasies and fusing together to a remarkable degree in 
the unity of a more or less common social type. But a hundred years ago 
the process of the melting-pot was still very much an untried experiment 
and one might not easily foresee the ultimate success m which it was 
to issue. It is therefore not altogether surprising to learn that the Ameri- 
can members of the Maryland Mission failed to see in the Belgian 
novices at White Marsh future efficient workers in a population such as 
was then to be found m the eastern United States. This, in fine, was a 
reason alleged among others by Father Benedict Fenwick for sending 
the Belgians to the West, where both among Indians and whites they 
could put their knowledge of French to good account and not be too 
seriously handicapped by their presumed unacquamtance with American 

71 Fortib ad Dzierozynski, January 23, 1827 (B) 

72 Hughes, of at. Doc, I 549 The Visitor, Father Kenney, also assigned 
the White Mauh debts as the reason for closing the novitiate "It had already [i e 
when Du Bourg arrived] been decreed to dismiss the novices, because White Marsh 
was encumbered at the time with debt and could not support them " Kenney ad 
Roothaan, February 22, 1832. (AA). 


ways. 73 But this failure of the native Jesuit group in Maryland 
to appreciate the possibilities of rapid Americanization that were latent 
in the members coming to them from overseas was short-lived. Within 
ten years of the setting up of the Missouri Mission, Benedict Fen wick, 
having become Bishop of Boston, was eagerly soliciting the services of 
priests of European birth for his diocese. Moreover, within the same 
period, the Maryland Jesuits were eager to enlist for their own mission 
a number of Belgian novices at White Marsh, whose original intention 
it was to affiliate with Missouri, but whose prospective valuable services 
their brethren of Maryland were reluctant to lose 

73 Benedict Fenwick to Fortis, May 6, 1823 (AA) 



The party of Jesuits that left White Marsh early on the morning 
of April n, 1823, to open in the country beyond the Mississippi the 
first house of their order since its restoration in 1814 consisted of Father 
Charles Felix Van Quickenborne, superior, master of novices and gen- 
eral director of the expedition, Father Peter Joseph Timmermans, 
assistant master of novices, seven Belgian novices, Felix Livmus 
Verreydt, Francis de Maillet, Judocus Van Assche, Peter John Ver- 
haegen, John Baptist Smedts, John Anthony Elet and Peter John De 
Smet, and three coadjutor-brothers, Henry Reiselman, Charles Strahan, 
and Peter De Meyer. With the party were six Negro slaves, Tom, 
Moses and Isaac with their respective wives, Polly, Nancy and Succy, 
all of whom had been employed on the White Marsh plantation and 
were now assigned to service in Missouri. 1 

The first stage of the journey, from White Marsh to Wheeling, 
was made on foot. It was no preference on the part of the Jesuit emi- 
grants for pedestrian exercise that prompted this mode of travelling, 
-pedtbus apostolorum, as one of their number expressed it The meagre- 
ness of the means at their command left them no alternative. Yet, when 
one reads of the experiences of other missionary travellers westward 
bound who chose to patronize the stage-coaches of the day, the course 
taken by Van Quickenborne and his party does not seem to have been 
so very undesirable. In 1 8 1 6 Father De Andreis and his band of eleven 
Lazansts, among them Father Joseph Rosati, future first Bishop of 
St. Louis, journeyed partly on foot and partly by stage from Baltimore 
to Pittsburg. Their experience while travelling by stage was distinctly 

1 The account of the journey of Father Van Quickenborne and his party to 
Missouri m 1823 as presented m this chapter is based mainly on a manuscript narra- 
tive m English by Father De Smet, one of the participants m the "expedition/ 5 as 
the ]ourney in question was often referred to m Jesuit letters and records of the 
day This narrative, of some eighty pages octavo, constitutes little more than the 
opening chapter of a history of the Jesuit Province of Missouri which the mission- 
ary in the last year or two of his life set himself to compile De Smet's narrative is 
not an original work, but a translation or paraphrase, with added details, of a Latin 
history of the early Missouri Mission written by Father Peter Verhaegen. (A). 



unpleasant The vehicle, which was without springs, jolted painfully 
over the rough road, was most uncomfortably crowded, and at intervals 
upset or broke down, on one occasion collapsing at night in the middle 
of a mountain torrent and during a drenching ram The following year, 
1817, Bishop Du Bourg, while on his way west to take possession of 
his temporary episcopal see in St Louis, followed the same route over 
the Alleghanies as that taken by De Andreis and his party He, too, 
journeyed or began to journey by stage As the vehicle had repeatedly 
upset during the first two days, the Bishop, with his companion, Father 
Blanc, the future Archbishop of New Orleans, abandoned it altogether 
and made the remainder of the journey on foot Four vears later, in 
1821, Father Nermckx, with seven candidates for the sisterhood of 
Loretto, set out by stage from Baltimore, but the conveyance having 
apparently collapsed on the way, the party had to walk the entire dis- 
tance over the mountains When experiences like these were frequently 
the lot of the stage-coach passengers of the day, journeying by foot, 
even over the Alleghany Mountains, had its compensations ~ 

The route taken by Van Quickenborne's party was the old Cum- 
berland Road. This, beginning at Cumberland on the Potomac, passed 
through Umontown, Brownsville and Washington m Pennsylvania 
and led across what was then Virginia to Wheeling on the Ohio. 
Together with the pike from Baltimore to Cumberland, it formed the 
chief line of overland communication between the East and West and 
was the favorite highway of emigrants to the Ohio Valley. The 
"National Pike," for the Cumberland Road was built and maintained 
by federal appropriation, was soon to figure in the great senate debates 

2 Joseph Rosati, CM, Ltfe of the Vety Rev Fehx de Anfaeis, CM. (St 
Louis, 1900), p 126 

Martin J Spaldmg, Sketches of the Life anl T^mes of the Rt Rev Benedict 
Joseph Flaget, Fnst Bishop of Louisville (Louisville, 1852), p 172 According 
to a letter of the scholastic, Van Assche, (Florissant, September i, 1825), ^ e stage- 
coach fare from Baltimore to Wheeling was a dollar for every sixteen miles No 
charge was made for passengei's baggage under thirty or forty pound*, but excess 
baggage was charged for at regular passenger rates, e g. an excess of one hundred 
and fifty or one hundred and sixty pounds, the weight of the average man, cost 
a dollar per sixteen miles, the regular passenger rate 

At a later period, 1837, Bishop Rosati and Father Vcrhacgen, travelling b> 
stage from Wheeling to Baltimore, were to meet with discomfort on the way, as 
Rosati tells in his diary "April 6, 1837 We arrived in the evening at Browns- 
ville two of the horses not yet used to pulling the vehicle refused to go, and, not 
to run any risk of an untoward accident, we got down from the vehicle after a 
mile [?] and finished the journey on foot "Vj^e supped in Umontown near the 
summit of the height known as Laurelhill we alighted from the stage, for the road, 
all covered over with snow and ice, was too slippery and exceedingly dangerous 
for a distance of four or five miles we travelled on foot " Kcnnck Seminar) 
Archives (Webster Groves, Mo ) 


over internal improvements and there are allusions to it in the memo- 
rable Hayne- Webster discussion of 1831. The condition of the pike in 
1823, according to a contemporary report, was one of neglect and 
decay. The Postmaster General, after riding over it from end to end, 
declared "that in some places the bed was cut through by wheels, that 
in others it was covered with earth and rocks that had fallen down 
from the sides of the cuttings, and that here and there the embank- 
ment along deep fillings has so washed away that two wagons could not 
pass each other." 3 

Having left White Marsh behind them and struck out on the 
country road that led to Baltimore, the Jesuit wayfarers reached the 
outskirts of the city before sunset of the same day Here, fatigued 
after their first day of travel, they readily put up with the inconvenience 
of taking their night's rest in a single room, on the floor of which they 
spread out the mattresses they had been at pains to provide themselves 
with for the journey. The next day they were in Baltimore, where 
Father Van Quickenborne took leave of Archbishop Marechal after 
obtaining of him an altar stone for the celebration of Mass 4 

From Baltimore Van Quickenborne addressed to the Father General 
a brief account, already referred to, of the circumstances that had 
brought about the unexpected venture on which he was now embarked 
He notes that the affair is being sponsored by the government, a cir- 
cumstance which leads him to invest it naively with an importance which 
one can scarcely suppose it to have had in the public eye 

As a consequence the eyes almost of the entire nation are fixed upon 
us If the venture succeeds, most abundant fruit can be hoped for. The 
novices are delighted at the prospect of the new mission I get the money 
for our travelling expenses by begging and today we begin the journey 
m exultant spirits under the auspices of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Holy 
Father, St Ignatius and St Francis Xavier The Procurator of the Province 
gave two hundred dollars and Reverend Father Superior reenforced the 
seven novices with thiee brothers, so that now we are twelve in number. 
Although the affair has been settled m irregular fashion (irregulanter} on 
the part of some, I trust the Loid has used these means to open up for us 
a very vast field which is now barren but promises to become highly fertile 
with the yeais We are to put up a house in Flonssant, a place bordering 
on the Missouri and not far away from St Louis where up to the present 
Bishop Du Bourg has had his See. 

Bishop Du Bourg, m his concern that the federal authorities in 
Washington be formally advised of the departure of the Jesuit party, 

3 McMaster, History of the People of the Umted States, 5 149. 
* Hughes, of. ctt , Doc., 2 1017 


had requested Count de Menou, charge d'affaires of the French 
embassy, to inform Secretary Calhoun of the circumstance when it 
should come to pass. In compliance with this request de Menou trans- 
mitted to Calhoun a note dated Baltimore, April 15, 1823, which he 
had received from Van Quickenborne "I have the honor to inform 
your excellency that our band of Missionaries passed by this city today 
on their way to their destination on the Missouri." 

The trunks and boxes that made up the baggage of the party were 
transferred in Baltimore to two large wagons, each drawn by six horses. 
These wagons, hired at the rate of three dollars and a half for each 
hundred pounds weight, were to transport the baggage all the way to 
Wheeling 5 Moreover, a light spring wagon had been secured at White 
Marsh in which to carry provisions and kitchen utensils as also the 
"altar trunk," which contained the vestments and other equipment 
necessary for the celebration of Mass On the same day that they arrived 
in Baltimore the novices and lay brothers left the city for Conewago 
in Adams County, Pennsylvania, where there was a Jesuit residence, 
while Van Quickenborne remained behind for two days to complete 
preparations for the journey overland to Wheeling After forty-eight 
hours on the way the novices reached Conewago in a state of exhaustion, 
their blistered feet giving evidence that they were yet unused to the 
difficulties of foot-travelling over country roads Brother De Meyer was 
so much the worse for his experience that he fainted before reaching 
Conewago and it became necessary to convey him the remainder of 
the way in a vehicle sent for the purpose by the superior of the residence. 
At Conewago, where Van Quickenborne came up to them, the novices 
spent five days, employing most of the time in copying out Father 
Plowden's Instructions on Rehgious Perfection, a task they had begun 
before leaving White Marsh. From Conewago they set out early in 
the morning for Taneytown where they arrived on the same day. Here 
the pastor, Father Zocchi, an Italian, lavished attentions on the travel- 
lers and with the assistance of some Catholic families of the place, 
provided them with shelter. 

On the morrow, as they started out, their objective was Frederick 
or Fredencktown in Maryland on the high road between Baltimore and 
Wheeling. Here the heavy baggage-wagons, which had not made the 
detour to Conewago, were awaiting their arrival They were at Frederick 
before evening, sharing the hospitality of the superior of the local 
Jesuit residence, Father John McElroy, who had made the acquaintance 
of Van Quickenborne and his novices at White Marsh, where he con- 
ducted a retreat for them From the moment he first heard about it 

5 Hughes, of, cit > Doc ,2 1017. 


Father McElroy was eagerly interested in the Missouri Mission now 
being set on foot. He presented Van Quickenborne with a roan horse, 
which, however, proved unserviceable on the way, as the recipient of 
the gift subsequently informed his friend, adding with a touch of uncon- 
scious humor that he would have sold the animal promptly had oppor- 
tunity offered. While at Frederick Van Quickenborne wrote to Father 
Dzierozynski, April 22 "We all arrived here in good health. Every- 
thing has proceeded well so far. We were most hospitably received 
at Conewago, had every need provided for and were sent off with one 
hundred and twenty dollars." The day the travellers spent with Father 
McElroy was the last they were to pass under a Jesuit roof until they 
were settled in their new home beyond the Mississippi. The little pres- 
bytery at Frederick was the farthest western outpost of the Society of 
Jesus in the United States. 6 

Beyond Frederick the party followed the National Pike. Each day 
had its customary routine described in these terms by one of the 

The wagons went on before or behind them by day, and at night 
stopped at the same place. When they had made arrangements for the use 
of one or two rooms during the night, each one would look for his bundle 
of bedding in the wagon, loosen the rope that kept it folded and then would 
spread it out on the floor at the place assigned him for the night Next 
morning each one would replace his bedding in the wagon Before sunrise 
both Fathers said Mass Two meals a day were taken in the open air; 
after an early morning tramp and the discovery of a cool spring of water 
(pretty numerous on the public load), each one would set to work in 
accordance with the directions given him. Some kindled the fire, others 
brought dishes, food and water, others again dressed the food and when 
cooked served it around, a fallen tree or a slab of stone on the bare ground 
served them as a table T 

Here and there the group had the satisfaction of finding one or 
more Catholic families at a stopping-place along the way. Not only 
was the constantly recurring problem of suitable lodgings thereby more 
easily solved, but they were assured a respectable place for the celebra- 

Van Qmckenborne ad Dzierozynski, Frederick, April 22, 1823, (B). John 
McElroy, born in Brookborough, Ireland, May 14, 1782, entered the Society of 
Jesus at Georgetown College October IO, 1806, died at Frederick, Md , September 
12, 1877 O ne t ^ ie man 7 services rendered by Father McElroy was the pains he 
took, while discharging the duties of procurator or treasurer of his province, to 
collect and preserve a large number of contemporary letters bearing on the early 
years of the Missouri Mission This correspondence, now in the archives of the 
Jesuit Province of Maryland-New York, is important material for the history of 
the Missouri Mission 

7 De Smet, History of the Mtssouti Mission (Ms ) (A) 


tion of Mass The names of some of the Catholics who thus dispensed 
hospitality to the Jesuit party have been preserved At Williams, there 
was Mr Adams, at Hancock, where the Baltimore and Philadelphia 
high-roads came together, Mr. Gouldmg, near Oldtown, thirty-three 
miles beyond Hancock, Mr Bevens, at or near Cumberland, Mrs 
Timmons, a mile and a half beyond Umontown, Mr Peter McCann, 
at Brownsville, Mr. McSherry, at Washington, Pa, Mr. Blake, and 
seven miles from Wheeling, Mr. Thompson 8 

At Cumberland the party were at the foot of the eastern slope of the 
Alleghany Mountains, over which the western highway was to lead 
them. Though not remarkable for mountain scenery, the Alleghames 
made a deep impression on them, they probably had never seen 
even a respectable foot-hill in their native Flanders They marvelled 
at the sights that now presented themselves as they left the lower levels 
for higher altitudes beyond Great yawning precipices flanked the sides 
of the roads, stately oaks and firs lifted their heads against the mountain- 
sides, while from the heights above streams of the purest water came 
rushing down. Nine days after leaving Frederick, having descended the 
western slope of the Alleghames and traversed the southwestern corner 
of the state of Pennsylvania, Father Van Quickenborne and his com- 
panions reached the house of a Mr. Thompson, where they lodged for 
three days, enjoying the hospitality of that excellent Catholic With 
Fathers Badm, Nennckx and other pioneer priests of America, Thomp- 
son's residence was a favorite stopping-place in their missionary journeys 
to and from the West. And now the arrival of Van Quickenborne and 
his band of emigrant Jesuits was an occasion of unfeigned pleasure to 
this devout layman One of their number having presented him with 
a small religious picture with the names of his Jesuit guests written on 
the back, Mr. Thompson sent the picture to his daughter, then attending 
school in Baltimore, at the same time writing her a letter in which he 
told of the arrival of the Jesuits and the object of their journey to 
Missouri. The daughter later became a rekgieuse of the Sacred Heart, 
preserving both picture and letter to her last day in grateful memory 
of an incident that had influenced her entire life. 9 


Wheeling was reached on May 7. The obvious way of pursuing the 
journey from this point was by steamboat down the Ohio But passenger 
and freight rates for the distance the Jesuits intended to travel were 
prohibitive in view of the slender funds at their command and so 

8 Van Assche a De Nef, September i, 1825 (A) 

9 Walter H Hill, S J , Historical Sketch of the Sf Lows University (St. Louis, 

- 13 


they resorted to a less expensive manner of transportation. 10 Two large 
flat-boats of a type common on the Ohio in the era of immigration and 
known as "broadhorns" were purchased, one to carry the missionaries 
and their baggage, the other, the Negro servants and horses. These flat- 
boats, securely lashed together, needed no propelling force apart from 
the current, with which they gently floated downstream. 11 

Having transferred all their effects to the "broadhorns," the party 
left Wheeling behind them early in the second week of May It was 
customary for emigrants journeying in this fashion to secure the services 
of an experienced pilot There were numerous bends in the river, islands 
large and small interrupted its course, shoal-places, snags and sawyers 
were frequently encountered, while the mam channel itself was not 
easily kept to as it often shifted its course capriciously, running some- 
times mid-stream, sometimes close to shore Piloting a flat-boat down 
the Ohio was not a task to be lightly undertaken by inexperienced 
hands. But Father Van Quickenborne could not afford to hire an expert 
for the business and so, purchasing a copy of the Riverman's Gmde to 
furnish the theoretical information needed for the venture, he com- 
missioned Brother Strahan, who claimed some proficiency in the art of 
navigation, to discharge the duties of pilot. 

As might have been expected, not a few untoward incidents and 
narrow escapes from accident marked the voyage. More than once the 
boats were almost driven ashore by violent winds, twice they ran into 
a tangle of brushwood and fallen trees and could be extricated only 
with extreme difficulty; on more than one occasion they escaped by a 
narrow margin being rammed by passing steamers. The boats drifted 
with the current by night as well as by day, two of the young men 
being appointed to stay up through the night and keep a close watch 
at the helm for danger ahead. On one occasion, about two in the morn- 

10 De Andreis and his party, twelve in number, also made the Ohio River stage 
(Pittsburgh to Louisville) of their journey west m 1816 by flat-boat in order to 
save steamboat fare, which would have been twelve hundred dollars for the party. 
Rosati, De Andrets (St Louis, 1900), p 130 

11 T ne flat-boat was the important craft of this era of immigration, the friend 
of the pioneer. It was the boat that never came back, a down-stream craft solely 
The flat-boat of average size was a roofed craft about forty feet long, twelve feet 
wide and eight feet deep It was square and flat-bottomed and was managed by six 
oars, two of them, about thirty feet long, on each side were known as 'sweeps' and 
were managed by two men each, one at the stern, forty or fifty feet long including 
its big blade, was called the 'steering-oar', a small one was located at the prow, 
known as the 'gouger.' " Hulbert, Historic Highways of American Travel, 9 119 
Van Assche, apparently not with accuracy, gives the dimensions of the flat-boats as 
twenty-five feet long, five feet wide and seven deep (Van Assche a De Nef, Sep- 
tember I, 1825 ) In one of the boats were four horses, two belonging to the Jesuits 
and two to Bishop Du Bourg. 


mg, a steamer was heard coming upstream apparently at a very rapid 
rate The watchers on board the flat-boats began to shout "lookout" 
as lustily as they could, only to receive back from the steamer the 
alarming response, "we cannot avoid you " Presently the huge craft 
came sweeping by within some fifteen feet of the flat-boats, which were 
given a lively shaking on the great rollers left in the wake of the 
steamer. To swell the excitement, the Negroes suddenly awakened 
from sleep were seized with panic, and with loud cries of distress accom- 
panied by the neighing of the frightened horses on board the flat-boats, 
began efforts to save their lives One very dark night there appeared 
in the distance what seemed to be the large, flaming furnaces of an 
approaching steamer. Brother Strahan at once declared that a signal 
should be given from the "broadhorns," but in true nautical fashion. 
Father Van Quickenborne accordingly seized a blazing fagot and whirl- 
ing it violently around his head began to shout "Ship ahoy 1 Ship ahoy'" 
with all the vocal power he could command, his resonant voice coming 
back in loud reverberations from the hills and dense timber-patches 
that lined the river-banks. But no change could be discerned in the 
course of the oncoming steamer. The occupants of the boats were soon 
agreeably relieved, when, as they moved further downstream, they 
discovered that the object which had excited their alarm was only the 
furnace of a saw-mill on shore at a sharp bend of the river. 

Sails were no part of the normal equipment of an Ohio River flat- 
boat But, a few days after leaving Wheeling the travellers became of 
the opinion that the addition of a mast-head and sails might accelerate 
materially the speed of their slow-moving craft. Some members of the 
party accordingly put to shore m the little skiff which was earned on 
board and returned with several small-sized trees, one to serve as a 
mast-head, the others to be shaped into oars Soon a pair of large 
blankets were to be seen fastened to the crudely made mast and, when 
a favorable wind suddenly coming up caught the improvised sails fairly 
in the center, the boats began to move forward at an appreciable increase 
of speed, greatly to the delight of all on board, who thereafter never 
failed to set the grotesque sails to the wind as opportunity offered. 

Meanwhile, there was but little interruption in the regularity of 
religious life to which the novices had become accustomed at White 
Marsh. There was Mass every day on board and a bell was rung for 
rising, meditation, examination of conscience and other exercises belong- 
ing to the routine of religious observance A neat little altar, suitably 
adorned and placed at a respectful distance from the boxes and baggage 
on board, served for the celebration of Mass. On the overland journey 
to Wheeling, candle-sticks had sometimes been wanting, and on such 
occasions two novices, each with a lighted candle in his hand, were made 


to stand on either side of the altar. But this inconvenience was remedied 
at Wheeling by the purchase of candle-sticks At Sunday Mass there 
was singing of hymns by the novices and a short address by the master 
of novices, the scene on such occasions suggesting the great Apostle 
of the East, St Francis Xavier, announcing the truths of salvation to 
his fellow-passengers on board the ship that was carrying them to 
the Indies 

Provisions for table were purchased, as need arose, at the small 
towns passed on the way. For this purpose it was customary to dispatch 
two or three of the novices in a small skiff to make the necessary 
purchases. On one occasion, as three of them were returning from an 
errand of this kind, a sharp bend in the river hid them momentarily 
from view Father Timmermans, the assistant master of novices, who 
had been watching their approach intently, seeing them suddenly dis- 
appear from sight, was somehow seized with the apprehension that the 
boat and its occupants had sunk in the river Father Van Quickenborne, 
hearing the loud cries of his assistant, came rushing on deck and, greatly 
excited, at once imparted sacramental absolution to the young men in 
the direction where they had disappeared The boats were then hastily 
run to land and moored, after which the occupants immediately began 
to make along the shore in the direction of the supposed catastrophe 
But they had not proceeded far when the three novices, having rounded 
the bend, suddenly came in sight, plying the oars m high spirits and 
quite unconscious of the shock to their companions of which they had 
been the innocent occasion. 

Though game abounded in the woods along the river-banks, the 
travellers seldom if ever succeeded in bringing any down, there being 
no skilful marksmen among them. 12 Not once in the voyage did they 
have the satisfaction of regaling themselves on fresh venison, though 
deer were sometimes seen swimming across the river. On one occasion, 
a fisherman in his canoe came alongside the flat-boats to dispose of his 
catch of fish. He was standing in the canoe, holding on with one hand 
to the side of one of the flat-boats, when on a sudden a deer was seen 
swimming the river a short distance away. The fisherman at once put 
out m his canoe towards the deer while Father Van Quickenborne and 
three of the novices, jumping into the skiff, also made in the same 
direction The skiff outstripped the canoe in the race and was soon so 
close to the animal that one of the novices was about to put out a hand 
to grasp the deer by the antlers, and, if possible, hold its head sub- 
merged under the water until it drowned. But Van Quickenborne was 
fearful lest the deer should leap into the boat and upset it and so gave 

12 Van Assche notes that bears, foxes, deer and wild turkeys were seen on the 


orders that no attempt be made to seize the animal. As it swam away 
one of the young men shot at it with his rifle, but without effect The 
deer soon gained the shore and was seen to disappear promptly behind 
the timber, none the worse for its experience on the river 

No stop was made at Cincinnati though Bishop Fenwick had ex- 
pressed a desire to his cousin, Father Enoch Fenwick of Georgetown 
College, that the party visit him in his episcopal city 13 The first stage 
of the river-trip ended at Louisville where the flat-boats were unloaded, 
the baggage of the party being transported thence overland to Portland, 
three miles below Louisville on the Ohio While at Louisville, Van 
Quickenborne and his companions had the pleasure of meeting again 
the venerable Father Nermckx, in whose company most of them had 
crossed the Atlantic in 1821 to become missionaries of the Society of 
Jesus in the New World He had come to the city to see safe on 
board a steamer a colony of Loretto Sisters bound for the Barrens in 
Missouri, and on learning that his Jesuit recruits of two years before 
were about to arrive in Louisville prolonged his stay in the city to 
await their coming. 14 Between Louisville and Portland were the falls 
or rapids of the Ohio. A "falls-pilot" was engaged to bring the flat- 
boats over the rapids, the shooting of which was a hazardous venture 
in low water Several boats had been wrecked therein a few days before 
the Jesuits arrived and their occupants drowned Four of the more 
muscular of the novices, Van Assche among them, accompanied the pilot 
during the perilous passage, which was safely negotiated At Portland 
the horses, wagons, boxes and other effects of the emigrants were loaded 
again on the flat-boats, which now resumed their course down the river 
as far as Shawneetown in Illinois, which they reached on May 22 with 
no untoward incident to mark the way. Here they left the horses and 
as much of their baggage as was not necessary for a journey on foot, 
in charge of a trustworthy person, to be shipped by him to St. Louis 
on the first down-river steamer bound for that point. After a brief stay 
in Shawneetown, standing close together they said the Ittnet&nwn, as 
was their custom at the beginning of every stage of the journey. 15 Then, 

13 Bishop Edward Fenwick to Enoch Fenwick, May 7, 1823 (B) 

14 Maes, Nennckx, p 504 

15 In a letter to Dzierozynski, September 29, 1823, Van Quickenborne explains 
the circumstances under which he "suffered them to eat meat on a fast day. N B. I 
did so and it was my decided opinion that we could do it The day before I had 
sent all over town (Shawneetown) to find fasting victuals for the next day. We got 
some very dear, though yet enough, but by some negligence of some one they were 
lost the evening before the fast day The next morning at every house it was in- 
quired whether eggs or milk or butter could be got and we could not (get them) 
and had to walk and were fatigued of the preceding day's work in arranging our 
baggage and as several were not able to live on bread and water, I, having taken the 


leaving the Ohio behind them, they began the long tramp through 
southern Illinois to St. LOUISA one hundred and fifty miles to the north- 
west. They had with them the light wagon m which were carried the 
altar equipment, kitchen utensils and other things needed on the way. 16 

Two roads led from Shawneetown to St. Louis, one old and the 
other new. The new road, as being the shorter, was chosen 5 but it 
proved a distressing one to follow on account of its roughness and the 
veritable clouds of gnats and mosquitos that infested the way. Often 
the insects swarmed so thickly as to cause acute physical suffering. While 
on the march the travellers resorted to the expedient of swinging their 
arms and waving branches of trees in their hands, in order to protect 
themselves against the plague. When they camped, it was not until 
they had built fires with the damp, decaying trunks of trees, the smoke 
arising thence not being relished by the troublesome insects. Good 
drinking water was scarce along the road. Sometimes a rather suspicious 
looking creek was the only source of supply, and when a genuine spring 
was met with, the two casks carried on a pack-horse were forthwith 
filled with the precious water. 

Young De Smet marvelled that human beings could be found to 
live m this malarial, mosquito-ridden country. Yet here and there 
settlers, most of them showing the effect of the unhealthy environment 
in their sallow, emaciated features, had built their humble cabins, in 
which, with a generosity typical of the American backwoodsman of that 
day, they dispensed hospitality to the passing Jesuits. There was no 
question of accommodating the latter together under a single roof. 
A group of four or five would stop at a cabin as evening came on and 
lodge therein overnight 5 another group would lodge m the next cabin 
on the road, and still another m a third, so that the members of the 
party sometimes found themselves separated from one another by a 
distance of four or five miles. More than once, as the wayfarers came 
up late m the evening to an isolated farm-house, the occupants, suspect- 
ing some evil design, refused to unbolt the doors until the strange 
visitors had explained satisfactorily the purpose of their arrival. In the 
morning, before taking to the road, they carefully noted down the 
names, if known to them, of the families with whom they were to stop 
overnight The novices who went ahead were careful to indicate the 
way to those that followed by planting sticks m the ground with bits 
of paper attached. Songs of a sacred character were often sung and tales 
of missionary adventure interchanged to relieve the tedium of the 

advice of those whom I knew most instructed, permitted them to eat meat, in which 
all agreed except F[ather] Timmennans " (B). 

M De Smet, Hist Missouri Mission (Ms.). (A). 


And so, covering on an average twenty-five miles in their daily 
march, the emigrants journeyed on in the direction of St Louis Some- 
times a bridge had been washed away in a freshet and m such cases 
they forded the water on horseback At length they reached the Ameri- 
can Bottom, a low-lying and quite level tract of country extending back 
for many miles from the Mississippi, which Dickens was at pains to 
picture in his Amencan Notes. The spring of 1823 brought with it an 
unusually high rise in the Mississippi, which overflowed its banks for 
miles on either side, when the Jesuit party entered the bottom-land, 
the flood-stage had already passed, though not without leaving a deep 
layer of mud on the roads and much back-water in the fields and inter- 
vening creeks, through which the travellers sometimes waded knee-deep 
for miles at a time. Finally, on Saturday, May 31, at about one o'clock 
in the afternoon, they descried in the distance the city of St. Louis, 
then a French-American settlement of some five thousand inhabitants. 
Mud, back-water and other obstacles to progress were of no great 
concern to the party now, who pressed forward in their eagerness to 
stand and gaze at close range at the city that was to mark their journey's 
end. When at length they reached the water's edge on the east bank 
of the great river, St. Louis, rising up from the opposite bank on a 
tier of ndges, with the Mississippi in the foreground, more like a broad 
lake than a river, made a charming picture to their eyes, as one of their 
number afterwards put on record. 

Fifty-nine years had passed since Auguste Chouteau and his party 
landed at what is now the foot of Market Street in St. Louis and began 
to lay out the trading-post which the Sieur Laclede-Liguest had planned 
the year before. In the interval the trading-post had grown to the 
proportions of a fair-sized town In the first years settlers had come in 
large numbers from the French villages on the left bank of the Missis- 
sippi, eager to exchange the British regime for the kindly rule of Spam; 
for the territory west of the waterway, a French possession since the 
days of La Salle, passed to Spam in 1762 by the secret treaty of 
Fontamebleau, and remained so attached until its retrocession to France 
m 1800, followed by its transfer to the United States in 1803. Under a 
Spanish administrative regime for the thirty-four years preceding the 
American occupation, St. Louis was nevertheless during all that period 
and for some time later distinctly French m population, language, and 
social customs and manners. With the lowering of the Spanish colors 
and the unfurling of the American flag over the place, the English- 
speaking element began to increase m numbers and importance, and on 
the incorporation of St. Louis as a city in April, 1823, Dr. William 
Carr Lane became its first mayor. 

Having crossed the Mississippi and set foot on the Missouri shore, 











the Jesuits had the sensation, so one of their number expressed it, 
of being transported to another continent The localities they had 
hitherto passed through on their long journey had been typically Ameri- 
can, now they were in something of an Old World atmosphere, as was 
presently brought home to them when they found it necessary to address 
the passers-by in French to learn from them the way to the cathedral. 
This was a longish and rather ugly structure of brick on the west side 
of Rue de PEghse (Second Street) between the present Walnut and 
Market Streets In the same square as the cathedral and close to it 
on the south were St Louis College, a two-story brick budding, and the 
cathedral rectory. Here resided Father Francis Niel, president of the 
college and pastor of the cathedral, together with his assistant-priests, 
who were also professors in the college, Fathers Saulnier, Michaud 
and Deys 

Bishop Du Bourg, who had journeyed to St. Louis in advance of the 
Jesuit party, advised Father Niel of their coming with the result that 
when they presented themselves at the cathedral rectory they were 
given every attention at his hands. The morrow was the Sundav within 
the octave of Corpus Chnsti, on which day the transferred solemnity 
of that great feast in the Church's calendar was celebrated with eclat 
High Mass was sung and there was a procession through the cathedral 
grounds First went a cross-bearer, the cross in his hands a precious one 
of silver, then little girls strewing flowers, then thirteen clerics, includ- 
ing the newly-arrived novices, some in dalmatics, others in surplices, 
next the priests, six in number, and finally Father Van Quickenborne 
bearing the Blessed Sacrament, which was screened by a canopy. There 
was ringing of bells and booming of cannon, the whole ceremony, as 
Van Quickenborne wrote m a letter to the East, being the most impres- 
sive he had witnessed since he came to America. 



Some fifteen miles north by west of St Louis in the Common 
iiclds of the historic Franco-Spanish village of St Ferdinand de 
Florissant lay the property which the Jesuits had come to occupy. The 
oldest name under which the village appears in history is that of 
Flonzan, a Spanish rendering for Florissant or "flourishing/ 5 the apt 
name found by the first Creole habitants for the fertile valley some 
twelve miles by three or four which drains into St. Ferdinand or Cold 
Water Creek 1 Some time about 1786 St Ferdinand de Florissant was 
organized into a village along Franco-Spanish lines by Frangois 
Dunegant under commission from the Spanish government as military 
and civil commandant, a post he held continuously until the American 
occupation. The first settlers were nearly all directly or indirectly of 
Canadian origin The French villages on the left bank of the mid- 
Mississippi contributed their quota while many came from the near-b) 
and older settlement of St Louis. The easy-going conservatism typical 
of the Creole population of the Mississippi Valley asserted itself from 
the earliest days in St. Ferdinand de Florissant The French merchant, 
M Pernn Du Lac, a visitor in the village as early as 1803, noted that 
its people would live m abundance, if they could exchange at a fair 
advantage the products of their farms for clothing, which they procured 
with difficulty. This they could do especially by raising tobacco, which 
the traders were obliged to obtain from lower Louisiana or Kentucky. 
But, comments Du Lac, "like all French peasants, they follow the 
routine of their forefathers and are the enemies of every innovation." 2 
The ecclesiastical history of Florissant begins with the grant of a 
church-lot made about 1788 to the habitants by Dunegant, the com- 

*A census of Florissant dating from 1787 bears the caption, H&vitaciones del 
Estabhcwmento del Tlonzan Cf G J Garraghan, St Fetdtnand de Floitssant 
the Story of an Ancient Parish (Chicago, 1923), for the available data in regard 
to Florissant origins 

2 Pernn Du Lac, Voyage dans les Deux Lowsianes et Chez les Nations 
etc (Lyon, 1805), p. 192. 



mandant. 3 The lot was the southeast quarter of the block bounded by 
the Rues St Charles, St Ferdinand, St Dems, and St Louis Here, 
Hyacmthe Deshetres being the builder, were erected in 1789 a church 
and presbytery of logs. Father Bernard de Limpach, a Capuchin, resi- 
dent pastor at St. Louis during the period 1776-1789, very probably 
organized the parish, which was named for St Ferdinand He was 
followed in the spiritual care of Florissant by the Benedictine, Father 
Didier, the Recollect, Father Lusson, the Capuchin, Father Flynn, 
the diocesan priest Father James Maxwell, the Trappists, Fathers 
Guillet, Langlois and Dunand, and the diocesan priest Father Charles 
De La Croix Thus, the four religious orders of Capuchins, Benedictines, 
Recollects, and Trappists, as also the diocesan clergy, had cultivated 
this spiritual field before the arrival of the Jesuits 4 

To St. Ferdinand de Florissant in the pioneer stage of its history 
were drawn not a few of the early residents of its more considerable 
neighbor, St. Louis. Here finally settled down many a sturdy pioneer 
who had been associated with Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau in 
the founding of St Louis. Rene Kiersereaux, chorister and sexton of 
the first church m St. Louis, who often baptized and assisted at burials 
in the absence of a priest, died at St Ferdinand in 1798. Here also, 
or in its vicinity, died in 1826 Nicholas Beaugenou, Jr., nicknamed in 
his boyhood Fifi, who with his father came to St Louis in 1764. and 
from whom Fee-Fee Creek in St, Louis County derives its name. 5 
Madame Rigauche, who opened the first school for girls in St. Louis, 
later moved to St. Ferdinand where she spent her declining years 
On the occasion of Bishop Flaget's first visit to the place, July 8, 1814, 
two men of patriarchal age were presented to him to receive his blessing, 
one of them one hundred and seven, the other one hundred and eight 
years old. The older of the two was Antome Riviere, who in 1764 drove 
Madame Chouteau and her children in a French cart from Fort Chartres 
to Cahokia, whence she crossed the Mississippi to occupy the first house 
built in St. Louis. Two years after Bishop Flaget's visit, Antome Riviere 
passed away at the age of one hundred and ten. It has been asserted 

3 Hunt's Minutes (Library of Missouri Historical Society, St Louis, Mo ) 
"Tradition runs to the effect that the church had its beginning in 1763 when 
Jesuit missionaries established Indian missions at this place " Conard, Encyclopedia 
of the History of Missouri, 5 427 "A Jesuit mission was established there by 
Father Meunn," Idem> 2 476 There is no foundation in fact for the statement 
that a Jesuit mission was established at Florissant by eighteenth-century Jesuits, nor 
is there any evidence that Meunn ever visited the locality 

4 The burial records of St Ferdinand's parish date from 1790, the baptismal 
records, from 1792 

6 Billon, Annals of St Louis in the Early Days under the French and Spanish 
Dominations (St. Louis, 1886), 416, 419, 423 


that the climate in the environs of St Louis at this period was pecu- 
liarly favorable to longevity, as numerous cases of extreme old age 
occurring in the district seemed to indicate. 6 

Adjoining St. Ferdinand on the west were the Common Fields, 
laid out, as was the custom m all the early French settlements of the 
Mississippi Valley, in long rectangular strips According to the tradi- 
tional explanation, scarcely, however, the correct one, this arrangement 
was made with a view to enable the settlers to keep together in groups 
and thus afford one another mutual protection against possible attacks 
from Indians. Here, then, in the Common Fields of St. Ferdinand, 
Bishop Du Bourg had acquired two strips of land, one on June 19, 
1818, from Joseph James and Elizabeth, his wife, and the other on 
January 28, 1819, from the parish-priest of Florissant, Father Dunand 7 
The two strips formed together a parallelogram, four arpents wide 
and sixty long, or two hundred and forty square arpents, a tract 
of land equivalent approximately to two hundred and twelve acres. 
The parallelogram, the axis of which lay N W. S. E., ran from Cold 
Water Creek to a line a few hundred feet beyond Big Branch or Sera- 
phim Creek, the latter a diminutive stream running along the western 
edge of the Florissant Valley 

In acquiring this property, which came to be known as the Bishop's 
Farm, Du Bourg had hoped that its cultivation would prove a source 
of some little revenue to the diocese, though he also seems to have 
intended it as a place of rest and recreation to which his priests might 
withdraw on occasion after the fatiguing labors of the ministry. But a 
use was soon to be found for the farm very different from any the 
Bishop had first contemplated. In the summer of 1819 the Religious 
of the Society of the Sacred Heart, who under the direction of Mother 
Philippine Duchesne had opened their first American house the year 
before in St. Charles, Missouri, were invited by Du Bourg to establish 
themselves in Florissant. 8 Here, under the superintendence of Father 

6 Spaldmg, Flaget, pp 133, 134 

7 (E) "Fortunately, I have arrived in this country at a most fa\orable time, 
when lands are still at a low price and when the immense population moving in 
here every day from every other part of America is daily increasing their \alue I 
thought it my duty to profit by this circumstance to make some rather considerable 
acquisitions in land, I have sunk in these acquisitions the little money that remained 
to me and have even taken part of the land on long-time credit Among other pur- 
chases, I bought a fine farm of 260 acres four leagues from St. Louis, which is 
already considerably under cultivation and may be still further cultivated by a 
third This property alone will yield me, all expenses paid, at least 600O francs a 
year" Du Bourg a M. Le Sueur, St Louis, June 1 8, 1819. General Archives, 
Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus 

8 Baunard, Luchesne, p. 1 76 


Dunand, pastor of the village church, a brick house, which was occupied 
by the Sisters of Loretto as late as 1915 and is still standing, was built 
to receive them The crudely made log cabins on the Bishop's Farm 
were placed by him at the disposal of the nuns until such time as the 
new convent in the village should be completed. On September 3, 1819, 
Madame Aude went by steamboat with the baggage of the community 
from St. Charles to the Charbonmere, the site of an abandoned coal- 
pit on the right bank of the Missouri about three miles from Florissant. 
The next day Mother Duchesne, on landing at the Charbonmere, met 
there Father Charles De La Croix, who had come on horseback to 
welcome her. 9 

Father De La Croix, a native of Ghent in Belgium, had offered his 
services to Bishop Du Bourg when that prelate was in Europe seeking 
recruits for his diocese. 10 Coming to America in 1817, he was, shortly 
after his arrival in the West, stationed at the Bishop's Farm, where 
he directed the cultivation of the land, making besides occasional excur- 
sions to the Catholic settlements in the interior of Missouri. He re- 
mained at the Farm during the stay there of Mother Duchesne and her 
community. A chapel was fitted up at a trifling expense and here the 
Blessed Sacrament was reserved to the great happiness of the nuns and 
of Mother Duchesne in particular, who took occasion to note in her 
journal that "to possess Our Lord is to have all we can desire." n 

Devotional exercises, household tasks, the care of the few little girls 
that had accompanied the nuns from St Charles, and various farm 
duties filled in the days that were spent by the Religious of the Sacred 
Heart on Bishop Du Bourg's estate. A goodly measure of privations 
fell to their lot. Food was scarce and to find some wild fruit in the 
woods was reckoned a piece of good fortune. Fire-wood could be had 
only in meagre quantities and every visit the nuns received exhausted 
their stock. "In this country," wrote Mother Duchesne, "people laugh 
at little fires, such as those we have in Pans, and so after burning their 
remaining logs in honor of a visitor, the nuns had to go into the forest 
and by dint of labor renew their store." 

On one occasion when Father De La Croix left the Farm for a 
missionary trip to central Missouri, Father Felix De Andreis, superior 
of the Lazansts and vicar-general of upper Louisiana, came to supply 
his place. He was a man of known sanctity of life and a student of the 
writings of St. Theresa and St John of the Cross, whom he imitated 
in his love of prayer and mystical intercourse with God. The saintly 

9 Idem, p. 192. 

10 Garraghan, St. Ferdinand de Florissant, p 155 

11 Baunard, of. ctt., p. 196 


Mother Duchesne recognized m him a kindred spirit One day at the 
Farm Bishop Du Bourg requested the nuns to smg a hymn which the 
Jesuit, Father Barat, had composed m honor of the Blessed Virgin 
Mary. "Our good saint was present," relates Mother Duchesne of 
Father De Andreis, "and he nearly afforded us the repetition of what 
took place when St John of the Cross fell into an ecstasy whilst St 
Theresa and her Carmelites were singing. He so enjoyed the solitude 
of the woods that he always says that the happiest time he has known 
in America was here The songs of Sion sung in these deserts enrap- 
tured him " 12 

It was this ground, sanctified by the erstwhile presence of the Vener- 
able Mother Duchesne and the Servant of God, Felix de Andreis, that 
the Jesuits were presently to occupy. The Religious of the Sacred Heart 
having withdrawn from the Bishop's Farm in December, 1819, to 
occupy the newly-built convent in Florissant, Father De La Croix fol- 
lowed them some time later to fill the post of pastor in the village 
church m succession to Father Dunand, who returned to France m 1821. 
On October 27, 1820, Bishop Du Bourg leased the farm for a period 
of ten years to Hugh O'Neil, Sr. 13 

On his return from Washington to New Orleans m the spring of 
1823 Du Bourg passed through St Louis, where he made only a brief 
stay But he found time for a visit to Florissant, where he administered 
confirmation in the parish church To Mother Duchesne he brought 
the unexpected news of the coming of the Jesuits It was interesting 
news beyond doubt and she lost no time m communicating it to the 
Mother General in Pans, Madeleine Sophie Barat 

The Bishop's huined departure is followed by that of many of his 
priests. . . Even our own priest has an idea of going down there saving 
it will be enough for us to have the Jesuits If you are as jet unawaie of 
what went on at Georgetown between the Bishop and the Jesuits, that 
last remark must surprise you He did not explain to us the details of this 
acquisition, an inestimable one for a country such as this, wheie the motto 
of the greater glory of God must be one's only riches and suppoit A priest 
told me that the Superiors wished to break up the Novitiate because theie 
were foreigners in it, that seven young Flemings full of ardor, zeal and 
devotion cned out loudly against the proposal and protested that having been 
called to America they would not leave the house unless they were placed 
in another house of the Society, whereupon the Superior decided to send 

12 Idem, p 196 Decrees introducing the causes of the beatification and canoni- 
zation of Mother Duchesne and Father De Andreis were signed respectively by 

Pms X, December 9, 1909, and Benedict XV, July 25, 1918. The decree de 
attesting the heroicity of Mother Duchesne's virtues, was issued by Pius XI, March 

, 1935- 

Louis William Valentine Du Bourg 
(1766-1833), Bishop of Louisiana 
and the Flondas and chief agent in 
the establishment of the Jesuit Mis- 
sion of Missouri, 1823 

Charles Ncrmckx (1761-1824) pio- 
neer Kentucky missionary and 
founder of the Society of the Sis- 
ters of Loretto at the Foot of the 
Cross Influential in recruiting Bel- 
gian countrymen of his for the 
Jesuit missions of America. 







I * $ h* 1 J "* 

% ; , i^ 

flV*^ 1 IT 

1ln:Mj ^i 

r>l 1 
1 ^ ^ 


. v.'kAuv. 

De La Croix (1792-1869), 

first Catholic missionar} to the Osage 
Indians As parish priest of St Ferdi- 
nand's, Florissant, he welcomed the 
Jesuits on their arrival in the West 
m 1823 

Venerable Mother Rose Philippine 
Duchesne of the Society of the Sacred 
Heart (1769-1852), benefactress of 
the pioneer Florissant Jesuits. 


them to this state of Missouri with the Master of Novices and his assistants 
and with some Negioes and brothers They are coming, so it is said, on no 
other capital than Providence, but aie all the more content for that By 
the treaty made between them and the Bishop, the latter has given them 
his Flonssant house, with its horses and cattle, and as the house is too small 
for the twelve or fourteen persons coming, he told us that several of them 
would lodge in the rectory Unfortunately loof and floor are yet unmade 
and we haven't a penny to help along the work The cure carries it on 
slowly, also relying only on Providence There will be no furniture except 
what we shall try to give them, not wishing to yield to the good Fathers 
in trust in Providence The Bishop gives them the whole of Missouri to 
visit, St Charles and two other villages, which as considerable work for 
two priests, the novices not being in orders. I don't doubt that when they 
get to be numeious the Bishop will take some of them for a college in 
New Orleans, which he will establish in the convent of the ladies [Ursulmes] 
there, as soon as they vacate it 14 


It has been told on a preceding page how Father Van Quickenborne 
and his party on their arrival in St Louis, Saturday, May 31, 1823, 
were lodged and entertained at the cathedral rectory by the pastor, 
Father Niel The following Monday, June 2, the Jesuit superior, accom- 
panied by the parish priest of St. Ferdinand, Father De La Croix, who 
had come to town to meet him, rode out on horseback to the Bishop's 
Farm 1G On the same day, Brother De Meyer, with another coadjutor- 
brother, journeyed in a horse-cart to their new home, both getting 
thoroughly drenched with ram on the way. The novices followed in two 
groups. They made the entire distance on foot, stopping midway to rest, 
partake of refreshments and quench their thirst with the water of 
Maligne Creek On Friday, June 5, they found themselves reassembled 
in the village of St Ferdinand, where as the cabins on the farm had 
not yet been vacated by the tenant, Hugh O'Neil, they shared the 
hospitality of the Religious of the Sacred Heart. Mother Duchesne 
and her nuns outdid themselves in charitable attentions to the novices. 
They furnished the young men board and lodging, placing at their 
disposal a budding of theirs which had been in use as a day-school. 
While thus the guests of the nuns, the novices walked each morning 
to the Farm to assist their superior in the task of fitting up the new 
home and in the evening after supper returned to the village. 

14 Duchesne a Barat, May 20, 1823 General Archives, Society of the Sacred 
Heart of Jesus. 

15 Htstorta Mtsstoms Missourwnae (Ms ) (A) According to Hill, Historical 
Sketch of the St Louts University } p 21, Fathers Van Quickenborne and De La 
Croix went to Florissant Sunday evening, June I. 


While Father Van Quickenborne was still in the East, Bishop Du 
Bourg had written to him from Louisville, announcing that he himself 
m person or instructions from him would await the father on his 
arrival in St. Louis. Reaching his destination, the superior learned that 
the Bishop had departed a few days before for New Orleans leaving 
his instructions with Father Niel Van Quickenborne had been under 
the impression from the first that he was to enter on possession of the 
farm as soon as he arrived and with no stipulations to hamper him 
beyond those already agreed to by the Jesuit superior m Maryland 
To his great surprise he was now, on his arrival m St Louis, informed 
by Father Niel that, as a condition for obtaining immediate possession 
of the farm, he would have to pay four hundred dollars to the tenant 
who then occupied it and who had a ten-year lease on it, running from 
1821 Father Van Quickenborne, in a letter written a few years later 
to Bishop Du Bourg, says of the incident "I had either to return, 
which our strength and want of money did not permit or to pay, which 
was equally impossible." The matter was compromised by Van Quicken- 
borne's paying the tenant one hundred dollars in cash and, in lieu of 
the rest of the sum demanded, promising him one-half of the crops 
to be raised, Hugh O'Neil, Sr., the holder of the lease, was a carpenter 
and builder, the lease having apparently been made in the interest of 
his son, Hugh O'Neil, Jr., the actual manager of the farm. The senior 
O'Neil had built Du Bourg's brick cathedral and was later employed 
on the carpentering of the church erected by Van Quickenborne in St 
Charles According to articles of agreement signed on June 6, 1823, 
between Father Van Quickenborne and Hugh O'Neil, Sr., and wit- 
nessed by Father De La Croix and Josias Miles, the Jesuit superior 
was to be given "peaceable possession" of the farm on or before 
June I0. 16 

In a letter dated "The Feast of the Sacred Heart," 1823, Van 
Quickenborne announced to Du Bourg his arrival at Florissant- 

I feel rather ashamed to write to your Lordship seven days after out 
arrival at St Louis, where we were received with the greatest cordiality 
and affection by Mr. Neil [Niel] and the other gentlemen The reason 
why I delayed so long is that I was busy making an arrangement with Mi 
O'Neil, the farmer The arrangement is now made, Mr O'Neil is very 
well satisfied and so are we I pay him one hundred dollais and half the 
crop of the twenty-five acres which he had begun to cultivate and he is 
going to vacate the house tomorrow He leaves us all the live-stock and 
everything on the farm The liberality and generosity of your Lordship in 
our regard has been an agreeable surprise Four horses, a wagon, a cart, 
a couple of oxen and several cows, a good number of hogs and some tools 

ie "Articles of Agreement, etc" (E ). 


put us in a position to work the farm and make it yield something even 
this year I am hoping that in return for all these favors your Lordship will 
find in us ministers who will be a source of satisfaction to you and it is to 
this end and in order that heaven may heap its most precious gifts on our 
illustrious benefactor that we address our feeble prayeis every day to the 
Most High , All our men are m good health and quite well satisfied 
with their new situation May we have the happiness of soon seeing your 
Lordship m our midst. 17 

The buildings, if such they could be called, which Van Quicken- 
borne found on the premises when he arrived were three in number, 
a square-shaped cabin of hewn logs and two smaller cabins, also of 
logs. Father Walter Hill, who lived at Florissant as a novice (184.7- 
1848) while these pioneer buildings were still standing, has left an 
account of them and the uses they were put to after the arrival of the 

The dwelling given up to them by 'Squire O'Neil was a log cabin con- 
taining one room, which was sixteen by eighteen feet in dimensions, and over 
it was a loft, but not high enough for a man to stand erect in it, except 
when directly under the comb of the roof This poorly lighted and ill- 
ventilated loft, or garret, was made the dormitory of the seven novices, 
their beds consisting of pallets spread upon the floor. The room below was 
divided into two by a cm tain, one part being used as a chapel and the other 
serving as bedroom for Fathers Van Quickenborne and Timmermans This 
mam room of the cabin had a door on the south-east side or front, a large 
window on the noith-west side, without sash or glass, but closed with 
a heavy board shutter, on the south-west side it had a small window, 
with a few panes of glass, and finally, on the north-west side was a notable 
chimney, with a fire-place having a capacity for logs of eight feet in 
length. At a distance of about eighty feet to the north-east of this building 
were two smaller cabins, some eight feet apart, one of which was made to 
serve as a study-hall for the novices, and as a common dining-room for 
the community, the other was used as kitchen, and for lodging the negroes 
These lude structures were covered with rough boards, held m place by 
weight poles, the floors were "puncheons" and the doors were riven slabs, 
and their wooden latches were lifted with strings hanging outside 18 

Shortly after his arrival Van Quickenborne began to lay plans for 
more ample house-room. He decided to add a second story to the prin- 
cipal cabin and to surround the entire house with a gallery, the upper 

17 Van Quickenborne a Du Bourg, Fete de la jour du Sacre Coeur [1823], 
Archdiocesan Archives of New Orleans On the farm January i, 1824, were eight 
horses, thirty horn cattle, ten milk cows, six oxen and eleven sheep. Status Tern- 
porafa (A) 

18 Hill, of cit , pp. 28, 29 Hugh O'Neil was for a while justice of the peace 
in Florissant. Hence the name "Squire" by which he was known. 


story of which could be partly made into rooms Moreover, the house 
thus arranged was to receive a two-story wing or extension. In making 
the wing ground had to be excavated for a cellar and foundation The 
first earth was turned on St Ignatius day, July 31, 1823, with some- 
thing of ceremony, as befitted what one of the participants described 
as "the inauguration of the first novitiate after the suppression of the 
Society in the great Mississippi Valley, which Marquette had dedicated 
two centuries before to the ever memorable Immaculate Conception of 
the ever glorious Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the Society of 
Jesus " 19 Each member of the little group, first Father Van Quicken- 
borne, then his assistant, Father Timmermans, and then the seven 
novices and three coadjutor-brothers, dug a spadeful of earth as the 
first step in the erection of the new building The occasion was graced 
by the presence of the president of St. Louis College, Father Niel, who 
had come from the city to preach the panegyric of the Jesuit founder 
in the village church and to be the guest of the community at dinner 
in the refectory, which had formerly done service as a stable. The next 
day, August i, work on the proposed addition was begun in real earnest. 
The cellar area was marked oil into four equal sections, the scholastics 
Verhaegen, Verreydt, De Smet and Van Assche being each assigned a 
section to excavate Van Assche, so the report went in later years, proved 
himself the most skilful of the party with the mattock and shovel, 
while De Smet, always of great muscular strength, excelled all others 
with the axe, of which there was constant need in the work of felling 
trees and chopping logs in the woods. 

The cellar having been dug, the next step was to procure timber. 
This was obtained from an island in the Missouri River a little above 
the Charbonmere, the bluff on the right bank of the Missouri where 
Mother Duchesne's community, and before them the Trappists, had 
landed on their first arrival at Florissant. The work of cutting and 
hauling the logs was performed by the novices and Negro slaves and 
was not entirely finished until June, 1824. While engaged in the task, 
the novices walked to the island in the morning after breakfast and 
returned home shortly before night-fall De Smet put in writing in 
later years some details of this experience 

Every day after breakfast the Rector led his little band, with cross-cut 
saw, and each one with an ax in his hand, to an island m the Missouri 
River, thiee miles distant, containing about a thousand acres of foiest trees 
of all sizes These were free to all comers, so that we had our choice of 
chopping and felling Hundieds of logs were secured and safely landed 
ashore and hauled to St. Stanislaus These logs were intended for the 
construction of two large cabins of hewn timbeis, for rafters, servant cabins, 

19 De Smet, Hist Missoun M^ss^on (Ms ) (A) 


stables and barns This immense forest-island, which was just above the 
Charbomere, shortly after disappeared in a great rise and freshet of the 
Missouri River, not leaving a vestige of tree or soil It stood on a flat, naked 
bed of lime stone rock, on which it had been forming perhaps for cen- 
turies as some of the largest trees seemed to indicate 20 

A letter of Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski under date o July 
25, 1823, sketches the situation at Florissant a few weeks after his 

I have the satisfaction to let you know that our baggage has arrived 
in good order some days ago, the novices have begun the week before last 
their usual exercises, they have no longer any manual work and will have 
none any more, we all enjoy very good health I have written to Rev 
F[ather] Superior (f Charles Neale) to have some additional help of a 
father or two (say Fr F. Krukowsky or R F Du Buisson, or both 
together). In our present circumstances it is absolutely necessary to have 
a professor of Divinity and I can assure you that you will render me a 
great service by procuring for this house a good Superior We have four 
parishes to attend now and several congregations of Catholics scattered in 
the country . . . We all go in full Jesuitical dress at all times and m all 
places It gives great satisfaction and edification to the people The Brothers 
are extremely well pleased with their new habit We find as yet persons 
that were with our old Fathers here before the Suppression It is a pleasure 
to hear of their zeal and exertions m behalf of the Indians After a short 
time the novices, I think, will begin to study I hope youj rev will grant me 
my petition, if I ask you to send me the distribution of time, the school- 
hours, repetitions etc to be asked by [fiom] our students Give my love to 
R[ev] F[ather] De Theux and tell him that the labours of Maryland 
are nothing in comparison with those of the Missouri and if you can make 
for us some other little collections of money, it will be most thankfully 

Circumstances had made it necessary for Father Van Quickenborne 
to press the novices into service for a more considerable share of manual 
labor than otherwise would have been deemed advisable. To Father 
Neale, the Maryland superior, he made the following explanation 

As for the work the novices have done, these are my reasons, 
I When we came on to this place, no house or cabin was arranged, little 
was done on the plantation and I had not the means to hire hands. 

2. I had just reason to fear that our baggage would not come soon 
and perhaps would have been lost We had not a single book to read or 
study, no table, no chairs, nor anything It was then for a time impossible 
to do our ordinary spiritual reading. All the time for meditation, recollec- 
tion, Flexona, examen, vocal prayers, beads and office of the B[lessed] 

20 Idem 


V[irgm] M[aiy] we spent regularly as in the novitiate I thought that to 
let the men idle, would be very dangerous I had much to suffer from the 
tenant and many other difficulties came in the way To have the novices 
speak of and see all these things, I thought was dangeious Therefore, 
I endeavored to set before then eyes the prospect of a fine crop, such as, 
thanks be to God, we have Moreover, I concluded that if I could stand it 
the first year and, without making any debts, settle here comfortably, I 
would have obtained an essential point, and I hope I have obtained it 
There is no doubt we will be able to maintain ourselves here without 
making any debts at all Oui house will be comfortable and spacious enough 
to lodge two or three fathers more The novices agreed in all this and did 
the work willingly and joyfully 21 

A letter of July 21, 1823, from Van Quickenborne to Father John 
McElroy, who had entertained the Jesuit party at Frederick m Mary- 
land, touches on the situation at Florissant at that early date. It is 
reproduced here though the greater part of it deals with the journey 
from the East' 

It would have been a great satisfaction to me to wnte to your Reverence 
much sooner The zeal which your Reverence has shown for the success of 
our enterprise and the affection which you have always exhibited towards 
the novices required on my part a particular attention to this duty of mine 
However, having to write some long letters to the Superior giving an 
account of everything and the difficulties which ordinarily attend establish- 
ments like ouis, and in such circumstances as we are, it was out of my 
power to bnng my desires into effect. Our journey was prosperous After 
we separated from you at the marble quarries we walked easy and continued 
to do so the whole road At Cumberland, Hancock, Uniontown, Browns- 
ville, Washington and one other place on the road with a Mr. Sevens, we 
found Catholics who received us like Apostles and whose charity often 
made me shed teais In other places in taverns we were always well received 
though we spent but very little money I often had reason to repent having 
taken your reverence's horse More than once I in vain attempted to sell 
him Now he does very well, but won't work Mr Thompson at Wheeling 
received us as well as we could wish We stopped there four days for our 
wagons that had the baggage in, broke on the road and we arrived at 
Wheeling two days before them. At Wheeling we bought two flat-bottomed 
boats and having taken our hoises and two of the Bishop's and our provi- 
sions, we set off without a pilot. The site of the river and its banks was truly 
beautiful and charming The snags sometimes terrified us and once or 
twice a sudden storm gave us alarm We floated day and night The 22d of 
May we landed at Shawneetown. Till this time we had Mass every day 
Shawneetown is situated on the banks of the Ohio in Illinois from which 
we went overland to St Louis, a distance of 160 miles. Here we entered 

21 Van Quickenborne to Francis Neale, September 29, 1823 (B) "Flexona," 
a half-hour of afternoon meditation or mental prayer practiced by Jesuit novices 


on a truly horrid desert Never did we suffer more from the mosquitos 
and bad lodging Moreover, the water gave us another trial The Missouri 
at that time discharged its waters so freely into the Mississippi that the oldest 
people never before witnessed such an inundation The Bishop had left 
the city a few days before our arrival The day following we witnessed a 
procession on the occasion of the solemnity of Corpus Chnsti such as we 
had never seen before in America We were received by the Vicar-General 
of the Bishop with all possible attention, so that we soon forgot our little 
miseries of the water. St Ferdinand is the name of the place where we are, 
Flonssant being its nickname It is extremely healthy. Sixteen miles from 
St Louis Our habitation is one and a half miles from the church, as much 
from the Missouri. I have not as yet received a letter nor a cent from the 
Bishop The letter I wrote to him announcing our arrival was carried by 
Mr De La Croix on board of a steamboat for New Orleans The steamboat 
got fast on a sand-bar and remained there for three weeks Ouis all enjoy 
good health and are coming on as they did before, well The negroes are 
very well satisfied We have four parishes with church to attend and a good 
number of Catholics scattered through the country At a distance of 100 
miles there are more than thirty families of them 

P S We want absolutely a house before winter. Without assistance we 
are unable to do it The building of the church has taken much labor and 
money from the people so that there are no resources here. Will your 
reverence not find a soul animated with zeal to help us effectively? 22 

On September 8 Van Quickenborne announced the arrival of his 
party at Flonssant to Father Joseph Rosati, superior of the Lazanst 
community at the Barrens (Bots Brule> Sylva Cremata)^ Perry 
County, Missouri. Father Rosati was at this time vicar-general for 
upper Louisiana. 

It is a shame for me, Very Reverend Sir, not to give you notice of our 
ai rival until three months after it has occurred I left several opportunities 
for writing to you pass by, especially the one offered through the Rev 
Mr Dahmen, only because I hoped to be able in a* short while to go and 
see you in person The very great esteem I have for the Congregation of 
which you are the Superior and your title of Vicar General urged me 
strongly to undertake this journey, especially m the absence of the Bishop 
But however great has been my desire, I see it is impossible for me to 
realize it now. I am quite worn out with fever, while a multiplicity of 
occupations in connection with the building we have commenced does not 
allow of my being absent The difficulties we are under are considerable 
enough, but they begin to grow less and with God's grace I hope we shall 
be able to settle down here. Mr De La Croix has left the affairs of the 
parish in good order, besides, we have the consolation of having the Ladies 
of the Sacred Heart who work with tireless zeal and are excellently 

22 Van Quickenborne to McElroy, Florissant, July 21, 1823 (B). 


equipped for giving a finished education to persons of their sex. In fine, the 
example of piety and holiness which they give and the Sunday school which 
they conduct give reason to hope that the cause of religion will win and 
piety take root Wishing you the giace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
I beg you to be assured of my very respectful attachment to your person and 
to believe me 

Your very humble and devoted servant, 

Cs. F Van Quickenborne 23 

Meantime, at Portobacco in Maryland had occurred the death of 
Father Charles Neale Attended in his last moments by Father Benedict 
Fenwick, he passed away on April 27, 1823, having previously signed 
and placed in the hands of Father Dzierozynski a paper appointing 
his brother, Francis Neale, superior of the mission pending an official 
appointment from Rome. Two days later Father Dzierozynski in a 
communication to the Father General penned a brief tribute to the de- 
ceased superior Ct He was a man surely of no ordinary talent, prudence 
and constancy, and was the last remnant of the old Society, which he 
had entered in Belgium three years before its suppression He was 
among the first who worked with such strenuous effort for the recall 
of the Society to America. Two or three times did he fill the post 
of Superior of the entire Mission. The patience and high spirits with 
which he bore so cheerfully the cross and wholesome purgatory of his 
affliction give hope that even now he is enjoying eternal peace and 
joy " 24 Father Francis Neale, the provisional superior, had some time 
before suffered a paralytic stroke, from which at this juncture he had 
only partially recovered His tenure of office lasted until the winter, 
the decree of Father Fortis, the General, naming Dzierozynski superior 
of the Maryland Mission being dated November 7, 1823. The latter 
continued in office up to the arrival in 1830 of the Visitor, Father Peter 
Kenney, during all which period the Mission of Missouri was a depend- 
ency of Maryland. 

Writing in October, 1823, to Father Charles Neale, of whose death 
in the preceding April he was not aware, Father Van Quickenborne 
noted that he had not received a single letter from any of his Jesuit 
brethren since he left the Marsh. The first letter to reach him from 
the East came from Father Benedict Fenwick It was dated September 
23, 1823. 

Your letter from St. Ferdinand reached me only yesterday. I hasten 
to acknowledge its receipt and also to felicitate you on your safe arrival and 
that of your pious and enterprising little troop Your long letter of the 

23 Van Quickenborne a Rosati, Florissant, September 8, 1823 (C). 

24 Dzzerozynski ad Fortis, April 29, 1823 (B) 


June so interesting for its details which was addressed to Father Charles 
was received by Father Francis Neale, his successor m office and who still 
continues to be Superior. All your future letters on the subject of affairs 
should be directed to him at St. Thomas where he still resides Father 
Charles lived but a short time after your departure from Maryland. He 
often spoke of you and your mission during his illness and considered the 
opening of that new field to the Society as one of the greatest acts of his 
Supenorship and from which he promised himself the most happy results to 
religion The account you have given of the state of things on your arrival, 
though it seems to indicate that something will have to be suffered and 
some trials to be undergone for the cause of God m which you have so 
generously embarked; yet it equally points out the future expectation and 
leads one to hope that a year or two of prudent economy together with the 
succors Government will afford, will place you above want and insure 
the most favorable prospects. . . . 

Relatively to the funds which the Bishop of New Orleans denves from 
France, I shall immediately address him a letter and endeavor to prevail 
on him to allot a portion of the same to your district He can certainly have 
no objection to do so, indeed I flatter myself that the very lively interest 
he takes m the success of your undertaking (of which I have a new evidence 
m his late letter on the subject of your affairs) will not suffer him to 
forget the situation m which he leaves you. 

The Superior is greatly chagrined that Father Timmermans occa- 
sionally experiences a return of his former affliction, and the more so, as it 
will increase your difficulties if the same should continue. We hope, how- 
ever, for the best and that the Almighty will continue to protect his work. 
He will, at the same time that he prays for the continuance of the health 
of each of you, look about him and see whether he will be able to afford you 
another priest who shall be every way competent to the discharge of his 
duty He thinks he shall be able ere long to spare you one In short, very 
dear Father, the eyes of all are turned upon you and expect much from 
your prudent exertions We all wish you success and shall not fail, as soon 
as it is in our power, to give you assistance. Write often and let your letters 
be well drawn and as copious and particular as possible in all matters. Take 
great care that the information afforded be extremely exact and correct 
and that nothing may be said which may have a tendency to mislead the 
Superior m the measures he is to adopt upon them. 25 

Twelve days prior to the date of the foregoing. Father Benedict 
Fenwick had wntten to Bishop Du Bourg at New Orleans in regard 
to the missionary expedition which Maryland had sent out to Missouri: 

26 Benedict Fenwick to Van Quickenborne, September IO, 1823 (A). Other 
paragraphs of this letter are cited elsewhere m this history Father Benedict Fen- 
wick, S J , cousin of Bishop Edward Fenwick, O.P , first Bishop of Cincinnati, was 
consecrated Bishop of Boston, November i, 1825 Van Quickenborne's letter of 
June 19, 1823, to Charles Neale is missing 


At the same time that I received your Lordship's communication I was 
presented with a letter from Father Van [QuickenborneJ who, as your Loid- 
ship observes, is more satisfied with his prospect than with his present situa- 
tion I am not surprised at this, nor indeed ought he to have expected to 
find all at once a garden of Eden m the center of a wilderness He is much 
pleased, however, with the quality of the soil, the healthiness of the adjacent 
country, the goodness of the water etc He desired the Supenor (who is 
F Francis Neale till the General appoints another) to give him instruction 
on several points, viz ist whether he, being a Jesuit, can take charge of 
the "Dames du S Coeur," hear their confessions and attend to them as 
his immediate predecessor was accustomed to do The answer of the Su- 
penor to this was that he should take the earliest oppoitunity to acquaint the 
Father General with the circumstance and learn his pleasure upon it of 
which he should inform him (F, Van) m due time, but ad interim he 
authorized him to attend to the nuns du Sacie Coeur provided youi Lord- 
ship gave him the requisite powers to do so, stating that it was very desirable 
that as far as practicable those who labor in the same mission should be of 
the same order the better to preserve peace and harmony. 

3dly. Father Van desires to know how he is to act in regard to those 
churches that have trustees, viz. at St Charles, at Portage des Scioux, at 
Dardenne etc The Supenor informs him that his study should be to gain 
them over by mildness and by proving to them by his zeal and esteem for 
the salvation of their souls that it is their interest to renounce all inter- 
ference even m temporals and surrender the same to the Society, that 
nothing is to be done by denunciations, but all by endeavors at conciliation, 
that the Faith of the people in those parts was as it were in the incipient 
state and too weak to be acted upon by strong measures. 

Father Van, I know not upon what ground, begins to be somewhat 
solicitous about the stipend (two hundred dollars) the Government is to pay 
annually. I presume your Lordship has already regulated that matter and 
that no difficulty will be expenenced on that head. There is likewise another 
point on which it will be proper to say a word The contributions levied in 
France towards the support of the Indian missions in your Lordship's 
diocese, will not a reasonable portion of these be committed to Father Van 
to enable him to weather the storm and overcome the difficulties he is now 
struggling with? It is very desirable that as good a face as possible be put on 
the undertaking, which certainly is a very important one both to your 
Lordship's diocese and to religion at large, and that the Government should 
see that we are serious in the business On our part your Lordship may 
be assured we shall leave no stone unturned to promote it as far as our 
ability will allow as soon as we get in a condition to do it At present we 
are too shackled to afford any aid It may be that we shall be able to afford 
a priest or two in a short time. Father De Theux has not petitioned that I 
know of to go to that mission He may, however, do so hereafter. What- 
ever the case may be, members will not be wanting in a few years after 
the ship shall have got cleverly under way Hitherto she is only launched 
Let it be our endeavor to keep her from the present well afloat. I entertain 


no doubts that a favorable gale will come in time which will waft her even 
beyond the Rocky Mountains 20 

Meantime, the arrival and settlement of the Jesuits in his diocese 
had brought to Bishop Du Bourg a satisfaction proportionate to the 
efforts he had made to secure their services. He gave expression to his 
satisfaction in various letters to Europe 

The acquisition which I have made of Jesuits for the Missouri causes 
me to feel singularly peaceful about these distant parts. These good fathers 
are in possession of my farm at Florissant. To reach it they walked more 
than four hundred miles, of which two hundred miles were through 
inundated country, where the water was often up to their waists, and far 
from murmuring, they blessed God for granting them such an Apostolic 
beginning. 27 They were very agreeably surprised, not expecting to find such 
a pretty place, for it is my policy to speak only of drawbacks to those whom 
I invite to share my labors The superintendent of Indian affairs, upon 
whom depends much of the success of our missions to the savages, received 
them with an interest both kind and active, and shows himself in an especial 
way, their protector Moreover, the fathers, including their novices, are 
well calculated to inspire confidence An unlimited devotedness, which is 
proof against the greatest dangers and pnvations, is associated in them with 
rare goodness and talents of a high order They complain of nothing, they 
are satisfied with everything. Living m the closest quarters in a little house, 
sleeping on skins for want of mattresses, living on corn and pork, they are 
happier than the rich on their downy beds, surrounded by luxury, because 
they know happiness far more exquisite, and are not hampered by self- 
indulgence. It is my duty, however, to try to procure for them, at least, 
the necessaries of life, and also the means of exercising their zeal and 
extending their field of labor. It is in this that I hope to be seconded by the 
Association of the Propagation of the Faith 2S 

It is to this end that I have worked from the very beginning to secure 
the help of the order of St Vincent de Paul, and that I have made every 
effort to induce the Jesuits to come here, the former order for the Seminary, 
the latter for the Missouri missions and more especially for work among 

26 Benedict Fenwick to Du Bourg, Mount Carmel, Portobacco, Md., September 
u, 1823. Archives of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Jesuits are precluded by 
their rule from undertaking, unless m exceptional circumstances, the spiritual 
direction of nuns The system of lay-trustees had given rise to serious abuses m the 
early days of the Catholic Church m the United States Hence there was a tendency 
to displace them as far as possible and vest the exclusive control of church tem- 
poralities in the bishops and parochial clergy The passage in the letter bearing on 
the Indian school is omitted. Cf. infra, Chap V, I. 

27 The distance travelled by the party through the inundated American Bottom 
is overstated. 

28 Du Bourg a son frere, August 6, 1823 The letters from which these extracts 
are cited are in Ann. Ptop., I, II. Tr. in RACHS, 14 153-154. 


the Indians The expense of all this has been great, but I am far from 
regretting it You can see by the letters of Father Van Quickenborne the 
progress made by the Jesuits in a very short time and with very small means 
I have been unable to assist them as substantially as I would have liked, 
having something to pay on the establishment which I have given them As 
soon as this debt is discharged, if our brothers in Europe continue to help 
as liberally as heretofore, I intend to spend a quarter, perhaps a third of 
these donations to aid the fathers m their important work They will 
also need more subjects, for the field which I have assigned to them is 
immense, but I believe that all will come in good time. 29 


During the summer of 1823 the seven novices were reduced to six 
by the withdrawal of Francis de Maillet, whom Father Van Quicken- 
borne thought unsuited for the Jesuit life and for whom he obtained 
a position as instructor in Bishop Du Bourg's college in St. Louis. 30 

29 Du Bourg a son frere, January 30, 1826 Tr in RACHS, 14 161. 

30 I have had a very fine opportunity of placing Mr. De Maillet with the Rev 
Mr Niel [president of St Louis College] wlio was glad to have him, for at that 
time he stood greatly in need of a teacher He will not be dismissed unless 
your Rev. will write me to do so " Van Quickenborne to C Neale, September 23, 
1823 (B) De Maillet's dismissal was subsequently authorized or ratified by the 
Father General Fortis ad Dzierozynski, March 25, 1824 (B). De Maillet, after 
ceasing to be a Jesuit, appears to have had some intention of joining the diocesan 
clergy, but nothing is known of his subsequent career "Wrote to Mr Demaillez 
[De Maillet] that if he has still the desire of receiving Orders, he should come to 
the Seminary." Diary of Bishop Rosati, November 16, 1825, SLCHR, 4 101. 

Besides Mr De Maillet, the Florissant community lost Brother Strahan, who 
returned to Maryland m September, 1823 A plate-printer and engraver by profes- 
sion, he had entered White Marsh from Philadelphia m November, 1819, and 
there pronounced his vows before Father Van Quickenborne on November 13, 
1821 Diary of Father John McElroy (G) He does not seem to have found con- 
tentment m his grade of coadjutor-brother owing apparently to the reason that he 
desired to be a priest The superior found him troublesome both at White Marsh 
and on the journey to Missouri. "He would have me name some of the company 
and himself too to make a Council by whose decision everything was to be done " 
Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, September 23, 1823 (B) Brother Strahan left 
Florissant for the East without the permission or even the knowledge of Father 
Van Quickenborne, begging m St Louis the money needed for the journey. How- 
ever, he appears to have taken the course he did on advice from his confessor that 
it was justifiable under the circumstances Arriving in Maryland, he lodged com- 
plaints with the superior, Father Francis Neale, against Van Quickenborne, who 
thereupon was sent a letter of reprimand by Neale. The complaints were probably 
similar to those alleged at the same time against the superior from another quarter 
that in money-matters he was parsimonious, that he did not provide properly for 
the reasonable comfort of his community and that he employed its members un- 
necessarily in manual-labor. Very probably a measure of truth lay behind the com- 


Meanwhile, as the young men were rounding out the two years of their 
noviceship, their superior had before him the question of admitting 
them to the vows ordinarily taken at the end of the Jesuit novitiate. 
To Father Dzierozynski he wrote July 25, 1823- 

Y[ou]r. rev. knows that according to R[ev.] F[ather] Charles' last 
resolution, communicated to me, the novices cannot take their vows, except 
after having obtained express leave from Right Rev F[ather] General, 
before the expiration of their two years, which will be on the 4th of October 
next. It will be impossible to have his answer. Now should the novices not 
be permitted to take their vows on the very day of their two years expira- 
tion or at least thereabouts, it will cause among them great dissatisfaction, 
murmuring, diffidence in and aversion to Superiors, they are sincerely at- 
tached to the Society and great lovers of their holy vocation By the 
Concordat made with the Bishop, Rev. F[ather] Supenor has not only 
disposed of them for the present, but also for the future and they have 
known this m Maryland: they have obeyed, exposed themselves to a dan- 
gerous and difficult journey, the means for comfort being denied by the 
Society. They have submitted and that with pleasure, to be placed in a 
most perilous post in missions highly cherished by the Society they do not 
complain, are not dissatisfied, but at the time of their vows they must expect 
to be treated like beloved children of the Society and not like adventurers of 
whom it must as yet be decided whether they can stay in the house or are 
to be expelled. It is needless to mention to yr. rev many other reasons 
and considerations which could be added however, I must say that m my 

plaints. Father Van Quickenborne was at this juncture but thirty-five years of age, 
had been a Jesuit only eight years, having entered the Society of Jesus as a diocesan 
priest, and had still much to learn in regard to the manner of government which it 
seeks to employ in regard to its members Moreover, severe towards himself, he was 
liable to show himself such towards others Baunard in his biography of Mother 
Duchesne gives some curious instances of Father Van Quickenborne's drastic treat- 
ment of that holy nun. But the real character of the man is revealed in the words 
he addressed to Father Dzierozynski on occasion of the complaints made against 
him "Thus I do not exculpate myself, for I acknowledge that I am guilty of many 
faults and imprudences and that I could have been more charitable towards my 
brethren and that it is an unhappmess for these young men to be under me I will 
endeavor to be more charitable and not only give what is necessary but shall also at 
times not suffer doucetws to be wanting and assuredly not put them to any more 
manualia. However, I could ask for the good of the Society [that it] would not let 
[stc] and never put me in any Superiority whatever All my ambition is to be sent 
to the Indians I hope that to suffer and die with them will make my happiness." 
Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, September 7, 1823 (B). Brother Strahan after 
his return to Maryland was employed for some time as an instructor in the day- 
school conducted by the Jesuits on H street in Washington. When that institution 
closed its doors m 1827, he joined Father Jeremias Kiley, another former member 
of the teaching-staff, in opening a school on Capitol Hill, having obtained his re- 
lease from the Society some time before. 


humble opinion, the success of our mission here depends m a great part on 
granting them leave to take their vows at the usual time 

In addressing this letter to Dzierozynski, Van Quickenborne had 
sought to secure his intercession with the superior of the mission on 
behalf of the novices Meanwhile the time for their vows was drawing 
nearer with no word yet received from the East. On October 8, 1823, 
Van Quickenborne wrote again to Dzierozynski, whom he apparently 
thought was at the moment acting-superior of Maryland "As the 
novices are at the term of the two years' noviceship, I shall let them 
take the devotional vows, not having power from your Reverence to 
admit them to the body of the Society. I hope your Reverence will 
approve it." Two days later, October 10, 1823, in the humble cabin 
that served as chapel of the first Jesuit novitiate in the Mississippi 
Valley, Peter Verhaegen, John Baptist Smedts, John Felix Verreydt, 
Judocus Van Assche, Peter John De Smet and John Anthony Elet 
bound themselves to the religious life by the three vows of poverty, 
chastity and obedience. 31 

At the beginning of 1824 Van Quickenborne had been a year and 
a half without receiving any word from general headquarters, as he 
informed Father Fortis 

It must be a subject of great wonder to your Very Reverend Paternity if 
for a space of eighteen months you have received no letter from me and, 
if you have received my letters, I must be myself to blame if no answer 
has been returned During that time I have wntten six times to your 
Paternity, three times from here. But I am not discouraged, though some 
bit of a letter would cheer us greatly The day before yesterday a letter 
from Father Dzierozynski, our worthy Superior, and also one from the 
Bishop were delivered to me. My soul was filled with joy to learn from 
them that your Very Reverend Paternity approves of our coming here 
and has it in mind to send us a Superior. God grant that we may be per- 
mitted to see him soon and with a companion All of us here are doing well. 
The novices took their vows and are now studying philosophy A roomy 
house has been put up as far as the roof and as soon as the weather permits 
the roof will be added on and the house finished. 31 * 1 

The first winter at St. Ferdinand's was to be a trying one. "Were 
St. Ignatius alive," wrote Van Quickenborne to Father McElroy in 
December, 1823, "from the many sufferings I meet with, I think he 
would foretell that success is to follow my miseries. Through the grace 
of God I do not feel them very much, having a most strong confidence 

31 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, October 8, 1823. (B) Van Assche a De 
Nef, Florissant, April 29, 1824. (A) 

31 * Van Quickenborne ad Fortis, January 6, 1824. (AA). 


that the Blessed Virgin and her Divine Son have taken our establish- 
ment under their care I am full of hopes that the Almighty in his 
goodness will make use of us to promote his greater glory in this part 
of the world. I began a pretty large building of logs only, though the 
whole has an under-cellar, having a brick wall one and a half-foot above 
ground. It is not quite as large as the Seminary in the city. I have all 
the material ready but the weather prevents me from putting on the 
roof." 32 

The new building was to remain roofless for some months to come 
and the community had to struggle through their first Missouri winter 
as best they could in the little cabins they had fitted up on their arrival. 
In February, 1824, Van Quickenborne informed Dzierozynski, the 
recently appointed Maryland superior, that it would be impossible to 
spend another winter in their present lodgings. He was still in doubt 
as to the future of the colony in view of a mystifying statement he 
had just received from the Father General to the effect that when 
the new superior came to St. Louis the colony might be disposed of 
in another way. What did the General mean? Is the Concordat to be 
broken? the farm not to be accepted? Are we to go to another place? 
Yet whatever the future had in store for his community, his mind was 
made up on one point, the urgent and absolute need of more decent 
quarters. He fears that his subordinates may lose heart and that, if any 
of their number fall sick^ the distressing conditions under which they 
live may be made a subject of complaint Even if the Concordat be 
not agreed to, it will not be easy to find another place before the coming 
winter. Moreover, the cost of a new house, stable and barn would be 
only four hundred dollars. Whatever happens, the Jesuits will remain 
at Florissant at least two years longer During that time two hundred 
dollars will be saved by the better storage for provisions afforded by 
the new buildings and if it be necessary in the end to move to another 
place, the improvements can be sold at a fair price. Such was Van 
Quickenborne's report to his superior of the situation in the West in 
the beginning of 1824. His representations appear to have had the 
desired effect and the new building, begun in the summer of 1823, was 
finished the following year. 33 

No news could have been more gratifying to the Jesuit community 
at St. Ferdinand's than the nomination of the Lazarist superior, Father 
Joseph Rosati, as Coadjutor-bishop of Louisiana. On receiving the news 
Van Quickenborne hastened to send Rosati a word of congratulation* 

32 Van Quickenborne to McElroy, Florissant, December 12, 1823 (B). 

33 Van Quickenborne ad Dzieroz/nski, Florissant, February 17, 1824 (B) 


Allow me to express to you my joy at the news of your nomination as 
Coadjutor to Bishop Du Bourg All good souls rejoice at it, particularly 
those who have the good fortune of being acquainted with your merits 
Certainly it is a great consolation to see how the Lord provides his flock 
with chief pastors according to his heart We consider ourselves to be 
henceforth under stricter obligation to pray for your worthy person, and if 
the Lord deigns to heas our feeble prayers, he will heap upon you the most 
precious of his graces All here are doing nicely. The log house which we 
began is not yet under roof We hope to finish it next Spring, at which time 
we expect reenforcements from Europe. 34 

Rosati was consecrated Bishop of Tenagra in ^rtibus by Bishop 
Du Bourg at New Orleans, March 25, 1824 He continued to reside 
with the Lazanst community at the Barrens until the September follow- 
ing his appointment m March, 1827, as Ordinary of the newly erected 
diocese of St. Louis, when he took up his residence in that city. In 
December, 1824, Bishop Rosati named Father Van Quickenborne his 
vicar-general for upper Louisiana, greatly to the surprise of the diffident 
Jesuit, who protested at once his incapacity for this responsible post- 

The reading of your letter filled me with confusion. I know not what 
could have induced your Lordship to fix your choice on one like me. No 
doubt lack of pnests places you in embarrassing circumstances But I have 
every reason to fear the appointment will serve only to put me to shame 
I do not know how to express my gratitude to you for the interest you 
take in our establishment. 35 

The kindly attentions lavished by Venerable Mother Duchesne 
on the Jesuits when they arrived m 1823 were continued as long as 
economic distress made the position of the newcomers a difficult one 
In straightened circumstances herself, the devoted superior of the 
Society of the Sacred Heart still continued to secure substantial aid for 
her Jesuit neighbors. Kitchen utensils, blankets, linen, food were either 
begged from St. Louis friends or furnished out of her own meagre 
store. A gift of fifty dollars which she received was promptly placed 
in Van Quickenborne's hands. When he went forth on his missionary 
excursions he found the single horse that the convent could boast placed 
at his disposal while the chapel outfit he brought along had been pro- 

84 Van. Quickenborne a Rosati, Florissant, January 6, 1824. (B). 

S5 Van Quickenborne a Rosati, Florissant, January 9, 1825. (C). Bishop Rosati's 
appointment of Father Van Quickenborne as vicar-general is dated December 28, 
1824. (A) Father De Theux was appointed by Rosati, April 14, 1830, acting vicar- 
general during Van Quickenborne's absence among the Indians and on March 2, 
1831, vicar-general. Rosati's Diary. But De Theux's faculties in this office extended 
only to his Jesuit confreres. 


vided for him by the attentive nuns. From a contemporary notice we 
get an intimate picture of Mother Duchesne pursuing far into the night 
her self-imposed tasks of making or mending the soutanes and parti- 
colored stockings of the Jesuit community. Meantime, the vicissitudes 
of the latter and the relations into which they were being brought with 
the nuns were ever-recurring topics in the letters that Mother Duchesne 
was sending from Florissant to her superior in distant Pans, Mother 
Madeleine Sophie Barat, now a canonized saint of the Church. 

The more we see of the Father Rector, the more we appreciate his 
direction and recognize [m him] the spirit of his Father, St Ignatius 
I have found a Father-Master. I no longer do what I wish and still he is 
not content. He gave a retreat of three days for our entire house on the 
occasion of a clothing and a first communion, which took place on the I4th 
of this month, feast of the Holy Name of Mary. One could only wish it 
had been longer, he has the gift of persuading and touching Seeing your 
daughters m such good hands, I am quite at ease m regard to their interior 
guidance. . . . They [the Jesuits] are building at the Bishop's place. I 
have done all I could to induce them to build in the neighborhood of the 
church, but there is no way of bringing them to do so. They would not 
want to be close to us. (September 29, 1823) 

Our fathers have learned with joy of the success of the [Jesuit] fathers 
of France and Sardinia They are in a season of trials These latter are of 
such a nature that I pray you again to bring the French houses to send them 
money, but directly to them The need is so great that I should be afraid 
of mixing up their interests with those of others The fathers have not been 
able to build before winter. They are just now exposed to wind and weather 
and all are turning carpenters and masons to close in at least one room 
which may serve for dormitory and study-hall. (November 27, 1823). 

Do you doubt now that God wishes us to be here? By an unhoped for 
blessing, we have so near us a nursery of Jesuits, fervent as Berchmans, 
which like our own, is directed by a Father Rodriguez or Alvarez, he is 
one or the other. At present he is keeping at a distance from us ... his 
holding aloof does not come from a want of zeal but from fear of acting 
against his rule. There is much in his manner to suggest that of your holy 
brother. ... It would indeed be ungracious in me to try to pass for one 
in misery, seeing myself favored and supported by so many friends of God. 
(February 19, 1824). 

It pains me among other things to see that our interests are entirely 
opposed to those of the Fathers. Their being at such a distance from the 
church makes their situation really painful. During the week the Father says 
Mass three times at home and three times here, but on Sundays, when 
he is obliged to come at an early hour to hear confessions, all the brothers 
have to come also, whether summer-heat, ram or the ngors of winter The 
creeks, which become swollen, make the passage difficult, dangerous and on 
many occasions impossible. Our house, which adjoins the church, is, as a 


matter of fact, what they need, but such is our poveity, we should lose 
the fruit of so many hardships [undergone] for the sake of our establish- 
ment, for we should have to begin all over again in some other place, and 
I find myself too slothful for that (Septembei I, 1824) 

If you would use your influence to have him [Fathei Van Quicken- 
boine] come a little more often or to have the Father General give per- 
mission to some of the students here to be ordained, it would be a great 
boon for religion and for us One priest cannot suffice for four parishes, 
two communities and sick people at a great distance He is constantly 
risking his life Recently in crossing a river to come here the horse while 
swimming threw him into the water He held on to the bndle until he 
could touch ground On returning the water was still higher, and, al- 
though on horseback, he found it up to his neck, owing to the hoise 
tossing about in its efforts to get back The firmness of this holy minister 
displeases many, especially the Fiench, who say that he does not like them 
and that they would rather go to another [priest] This other has not yet 
appeared We no longer see any one but him, his children being always 
in retirement F[ather] Clonviere did not compaie with him in exactness. 
I see perfectly that a second [Fathei] would put hearts at ease. One 
cannot find greater merit, but sometimes [human] weaknesses need to be 
indulged (July 4, 1825). 

As a postscript to these excerpts from the correspondence of Mother 
Duchesne, it may be added that the appeals made to Mother Barat by 
her local representative at Florissant on behalf of the struggling Jesuit 
community of the vicinity were not fruitless. On April 8, 1824, the 
saint wrote to Mother Duchesne "Mile Mathevon, sister of Lucille, 
has forwarded me nearly 600 francs for your good Fathers I do not 
know how to send them to you We are going to beg in our houses 
and if anything comes of it, we shall put all the collections together." 
Evidently Father Van Quickenborne realized that the superior-general 
of the Society of the Sacred Heart could be relied upon as a sympathetic 
friend, when he appealed on one occasion to the Father General for 
the dispatch of some recruits from abroad, it was in the hands of Mother 
Barat that he proposed to place the travelling-money which he was 
ready to provide for their journey overseas. 35 * 

Exactly one year had passed since the planting of the Jesuit colony 
when it suffered an unexpected loss in the death of Father Timmermans. 
During nearly all his stay in Missouri he was in feeble health. On 
Ascension Thursday he was particularly indisposed, but was able to 
take a walk with the scholastics Van Assche and Elet. His condition 

35a Notices sut la vie de Mere Duchesne en Amenque (Ms ) Lettres de Mme. 
Duchesne General Archives of the Society of the Sacred Heart "The nuns have 
offered me a gift of 200 doll I have accepted " Van QuicXenborne to Dzierozynski, 
September 29, 1823. (B). 


improved the following days and on Saturday, May 29, he left the 
house to attend his mission at St. Charles The heat and fatiguing duties 
of the following day prostrated him so that he was barely able to con- 
duct the Sunday services After Mass he began to preach to the con- 
gregation but was unable to proceed. He rejoined his community Sunday 
evening about 9 o'clock, as Father Van Quickenborne, who planned to 
go to St Louis on Monday, had requested him not to remain overnight 
in St. Charles. Father Timmermans took medicine and retired for the 
night, not doubting that the indisposition would have vanished by the 
morning. But the morning found him no better. At half-past four 
Van Quickenborne celebrated Mass. Timmermans wished to rise and 
go to the chapel, but was dissuaded from doing so by the infirmanan 
He was in a sleep when the superior went to visit him. On being assured 
by the brother-mfirmanan that his colleague's ailment was nothing more 
serious than an acute attack of malaria. Father Van Quickenborne left 
the house for St Louis When Father Timmermans awoke, he felt 
himself to be worse rather than better and was thereupon advised by 
the infirmanan to occupy the superior's room, where it might be easier 
for him to rest He did so without any assistance. This was about ten 
o'clock m the morning. At half-past twelve Mr Van Assche on passing 
the window of the superior's room, which was in the same cabin as the 
chapel, a curtain being used to separate the two apartments, saw the 
sick priest seated on the bed and engaged in conversation with the 
infirmanan, who was preparing to bring him a little nourishment. About 
half an hour later the same scholastic with one of his companions heard 
the sick priest groan, as though in extreme pain. Hurrying at once to 
the room where he lay, they found him with his eyes open, gasping 
for breath and already m his agony. The rest of the community were 
hastily summoned and while the prayers for the dying were being 
recited by one of the scholastics, Father Timmermans passed away. 
It was the thirty-first day of May, i824- 36 

In the course of that same day Van Quickenborne, as he ap- 
proached the house on his return from St. Louis, heard the community 
bell tolling the customary knell for a departed soul. He had left the 
house in the morning without particular anxiety for his fellow-priest, 
who did not appear to be seriously indisposed, and now when he learned 
that the death-knell was for Father Timmermans, his heart sank under 
the shock. To the scholastics, whom he found greatly depressed over the 
event, he could only say that the Lord evidently wished the father to 
share no longer the misery of which there was so plentiful a store, and 

86 Van Assche a De Nef, Florissant, June 5, 1824 (A) The date of Father 
Timmerman's death is erroneously given in some accounts as June i . 


raising his eyes to heaven, he added, "Lord, it is your work at which we 
labor. F^at voluntas tua" 37 

Thus died Father Peter Timmermans, with whose name begins the 
necrology of the restored Society of Jesus in the Middle United States. 
He was buried on Tuesday, June i, m the parish church of St. Ferdi- 
nand's under the epistle side of the sanctuary, and, in the words of Mr. 
Van Assche, "with all the ceremony that we could command." This 
young Fleming, then only twenty-four years of age, had been deeply 
impressed by the dead priest's piety "The memory of his virtues, par- 
ticularly his obedience and humility," he informed his friend, De Nef 
m Belgium, "will never be effaced from our memory." More than a 
year had passed since the father's death when Van Assche in a letter 
to a friend in Belgium again returned to the subject of Timmermans's 
edifying career. One word from the superior was enough to make him 
go anywhere without a penny m his pocket. Whatever his occupation, 
he made daily four or five visits to the Blessed Sacrament, apart from 
those that were made in common by the community, nor did he ever 
fail on leaving the house for a missionary trip to pay a visit to the chapel 
When he returned, it mattered not at what hour, nor whether he was 
drenched with rain or stiff with cold, he leaped from his horse, saluted 
the scholastics if they happened to be present and, without saying a 
word, proceeded at once to the chapel. Nothing but the most obvious 
danger would prevent him from crossing the Missouri to attend to his 
missions, which, beginning with St. Charles and Portage Des Sioux 
stretched westward across the state as far as Jefferson City. 38 

Three days after the death of his fellow-priest, Van Quickenborne 
dispatched to his superior in Maryland this simple note* 

Painful as it is, I have to announce to your Reverence, the death of 
our beloved Father Timmermans. He died like a soldier with armor m 
hand on the field of battle m the actual exercise of his truly apostolical zeal. 
The day before his departure out of this life he celebrated Mass (as yet) 
at St. Charles, came home, and was the next day, the thirty-first, a corpse. 
His loss is deeply felt by all who knew him He has been buried in the 
church here and his funeral has been attended by a great number of persons. 
His death has produced the effect which is ordinarily produced by the 
death of a Saint. 39 

On the same day that Van Quickenborne penned these lines he 
sent a second letter to Dzierozynski asking him to make good the 

37 French anonymous account m the Shea Propaganda transcripts, Georgetown 
University Archives 

38 Van Assche a De Nef, Florissant, June 5, 1824 (A). 

39 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, Florissant, June 3, 1824. (B). 


loss the mission had sustained by sending Father Dubuisson to Mis- 
souri. Anxiety over the increasingly difficult position in which he found 
himself by the death of Timmermans had begun to settle on the spirits 
of the Florissant superior. "It is a dreadful thought in moments of 
depression, to think oneself abandoned. Our difficulties must needs 
increase with the arrival of the Indians. Those that we have are quite 
sick. If we are to have with the Indians the success we look for, it is 
imperative that some father be sent to us and would to God that he 
may come as superior. I ask your Reverence to send us Father 
Dubuisson." 40 

Two months later, in August, 1824, Van Quickenborne was still 
waiting for an answer to his appeal for help. "In the great distress in 
which I am at present," he again addressed Father Dzierozynski, "this 
is alarming. Has your Reverence not received my letter? I shall put my 
trust in the Almighty and hope that Father Dubuisson with Brother 
Mead have by this time started The Divine Providence is too watchful 
over us to suffer us to be discouraged by the trials which the Almighty 
is pleased to send us and therefore I shall supercede [mentioning] the 
absolute necessity of sending us assistance in persons." 41 

The prayer of Father Van Quickenborne for relief was to remain 
unheeded for more than a year. In January, 1825, he was still pleading 
with the Maryland superior for assistance from the East. "Under the 
present circumstances what shall I write to you? Does your Reverence 
really think that we are entirely abandoned? I hope that your Reverence 
will show that it is not so. Your fatherly heart, your tenderness of a 
mother will not have been satisfied until by making some generous 
sacrifice, it will have found the person to be sent to us, a man of great 
mortification and resignation, otherwise in less than half a year he will 
say that the burden is above his strength." The voice of Bishop Du 
Bourg had already been raised in Father Van Quickenborne's behalf. 
He wrote September 15, 1824, to Father Dzierozynskr "The premature 
death of your excellent Father Timmermans has rent my heart with 
grief In compassion to him [Van Quickenborne] could you not send 
him a companion? I earnestly beg you will do it, if you will not expose 
him to fall a victim to his increased labors. What in that case would be 
the fate of that infant establishment? Do, for God's sake, send him 
one." 42 

40 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, Florissant, June 3, 1824. (B) A school 
for Indian boys was opened at Florissant in the spring of 1824 Cf mjra> Chap. V, 
"St Regis Seminary." 

41 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, Florissant, August 24, 1824. (B). 

42 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, January, 1825 (B). Du Bourg to Van 
Quickenborne, September 15, 1824. (A). 


Meanwhile, Van Quickenborne, burdened with the spiritual charge 
of all the Catholic population of Missouri west of St. Louis, had to 
resort to various makeshifts to supply the place of his dead companion. 
There was no Mass at the Seminary on Sundays and festivals and on 
these days the scholastics were sent trudging through the wet grass to 
the village church of Florissant, where their superior offered the Holy 
Sacrifice. St. Charles and Portage Des Sioux were visited once a month, 
but on a week day, these two parishes remained without Sunday Mass 
for a year and a half. In the superior's absence, baptism, funerals and 
catechizing were occasionally attended to by laymen. Moreover, the 
scholastics Elet and Verhaegen repaired every Sunday to St. Charles, 
where they took turns in reciting French prayers for the congregation 
and even addressing it in catechetical instructions. Two other scholastics 
were assigned to similar duties at Florissant on Sundays and festivals 
As to the remote missions, such as Hancock Prairie, Cote-sans-dessem, 
Franklin, they appear to have been left unvisited altogether, except at 
rare intervals It is presumably to these outlying western stations that 
Van Quickenborne refers when he describes a missionary trip of two 
hundred and fifty miles, which he finished in the course of a single week 
in April, 1825 To reach these distant points, which he visited only once 
a year, he had to swim his horse across the swollen creeks with his own 
body immersed in water up to the neck. His strenuous zeal did not go 
without appreciation As he left a certain parish, the eyes of the people 
filled with tears at the thought that they were not to see a Catholic 
priest again for another twelvemonth. 

The position, daily becoming more critical, to which Van Quicken- 
borne was now being reduced was reported by him to the Father 
General in March and again m June, 1825. 

Although [it is the time for writing" 3 ], I scarcely know how to do so, 
distressed as I am by the long silence which your Very Rev Paternity has 
maintained ever since we came here. Father Neale, the Superior at that 
time, promised that a priest would be sent from Maryland, for he was 
firmly convinced that two priests were not enough for doing what had to 
be done according to the concordat made with Bishop Du Bourg Then 
Father Timmermans, my companion, succumbed and since the 3ist of 
May of last year I am the only priest for six parishes distant fiom our 
Seminary, one 18, another 90, a third 120 miles. I am the only one to 
teach theology and govern the Indian Seminary. Numerous circumstances 
add considerably to the strain of these duties, as the rough, wretched roads, 
the big rivers, Missoun and Mississippi, which intersect these parishes, and 
the journeying I have to do for the Indian boys. . . . 

Our men were greatly encouraged to hear that your Very Reverend 
Paternity entertains good hopes of our Seminary. There are six scholastics 


and two coadjutor-brotheis Of the scholastics, two almost finished their 
theology before entering the Society and so repeat their theology privately 
and are present only at the explanation of cases of conscience Two others 
were one full year m the Seminary The remaining two finished only 
humanities All aie now in their second yeai of theology In a spnitual way 
they are all doing well, being great lovers of their vocation, although (I say 
it with sorrow) their ardor has cooled down from the fact that they believe 
themselves abandoned This situation weighs upon me heavily I am greatly 
alarmed as I look into the future However, as I have every reason to fear 
on account of my sins, I trust in the Lord that God, Who in His very 
great mercy has rescued us from many difficulties, will not abandon us, 
seeing that for His sake we have become almost exiles among barbarous 
nations But how can a weakling like myself carry on their education accord- 
ing to the Institute? In the beginning Rev. Father Dzierozynski tried to 
prevail upon Rev Father Neale, the superior at the time, to send three 
priests And yet we were only two when we set out from Maryland How- 
ever, Father Neale, on learning that the Father who died a year ago was 
sometimes subject to mental disturbances, wrote soon after that he would 
send a third Father able for any kind of work It is now more than a year 
since I have been the only priest Further, I have six parishes to attend to, 
which are cut up by numerous rivers and are widely apart from one another 
and from our Seminary I am often called to the sick In order to deliver 
my lectures and be at the service of Ours, I have often to swim the smaller 
rivers on horseback and to keep journeying on in the heat of the day or 
through the bitterly cold winter-night. These things it is impossible to keep 
up. There are special and very urgent reasons why I must go to all the 
sick in each of the parishes, reasons which it would take too long to set 
down here 4S 

To Bishop Du Bourgj temperamentally sensitive and apprehensive, 
the situation at St Ferdinand's now became a source of grave anxiety. 
From New Orleans he sent this remonstrance to Van Quickenborne 

I learn with sorrow that you are overworking yourself and to all 
appearances cannot hold out much longer What would then become of 
your establishment, what would become of the hopes built upon it, since 
your Reverend Father General certainly intends the fulfillment of his 
promise? What would he say were I to conduct myself in like manner? 
I believe that under the circumstances you ought to have a couple of young 
scholastics ordained and thus obtain relief from your crushing labors It is 
clearly a case of tempting God; and I beg you, my dear Father, to reflect 
on this matter and not to expose yourself to the danger of adding a crown- 

43 Van Quickenborne ad Fortis, March 22, June 29, 1825 (AA) In his letter 
(supra) of February 17, 1824, to Dzierozynski, Van Quickenborne speaks of a com- 
munication already received by him from the General. 


ing misery to those which alieady weigh me down. Justice requires you not 
to treat this matter lightly. 44 

In November, 1825, Du Bourg returned to the same topic. From 
St Jean Baptiste in Louisiana he announced to the Jesuit superior the 
arrival at the Barrens of Bishop Rosati, begging the former at the same 
time to dispatch two of the scholastics to the Seminary at that place, 
which it would be necessary for them to reach before the December 
ember-days. With characteristic attention to details, he warned the 
superior not to dally in the matter, for the rainy season was at hand 
and the two little creeks that run between Ste. Genevieve and the 
Barrens might overflow their banks and thus make it impossible for 
the scholastics to reach the Seminary at the proper time 45 

Some time previous to this juncture of affairs the Bishop in his 
anxiety to have Van Qmckenborne spare himself in the interests of the 
Jesuit group, had resort to a drastic measure to effect his purpose. He 
forbade the overzealous superior to exercise the sacred ministry beyond 
the limits of St Ferdinand, unless summoned by the sick, and accord- 
ingly withdrew from him the faculties which he had hitherto enjoyed 
for other parts of the diocese. The faculties were to remain thus revoked 
until two additional priests should have come to share the superior's 
labors, they were to be restored ipso jacto by the ordination of two of 
the scholastics to the priesthood. 46 

The expedient of ordaining some of the young Jesuits with a view 
to supply the pressing need of priestly laborers was one which Van 
Quickenborne himself commended to his superior in the East. In Janu- 
ary, 1825, the names of Smedts and Verreydt were forwarded to 
Dzierozynski as likely subjects for ordination. They had spent two 
years and a half in the seminary at Mechlin where they studied "divin- 
ity, chiefly the casus Conscientiae " They would be ready for orders in 
September, at which time Bishop Rosati was to be a guest at St. Ferdi- 
nand's. In case the Bishop left for Rome, whither he was expected to 
go in the likely contingency of his being declared titular Bishop of 
New Orleans, the young men would have to be sent for ordination to 

44 Du Bourg a Van Quickenborne, May 25, 1825. (A) Dzierozynski had writ- 
ten to Fortis in 1824 for permission to have one or other of the Florissant scholas- 
tics ordained Dzierozynski ad Fortis, September 3, 1824. (B) It was seemingly the 
problematic outlook for the Florissant Jesuits that caused this matter to be referred 
to the Father General, as had also been done m the case of the novices* vows Per- 
mission for such vows as also for promotion to holy orders is ordinarily given by the 
superior of the Jesuit province or mission. 

45 Du Bourg a Van Quickenborne, St Jean Baptiste, La , November o, 
1825 (A). 

46 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, November 19, 1825. (B), 


New Orleans, a trip that would entail greater expense than the slender 
funds of the mission could afford. Within little more than a year after 
this appeal, Messrs Smedts and Verhaegen were to be advanced to the 

Father Van Quickenborne's delay in presenting the young men for 
holy orders, was an occasion of chagrin to Bishop Du Bourg, who 
expressed his mind frankly on the subject m a letter to Father 

New Orleans, July 10, 1825. 
Very Rev. and dear Father 

By a letter from the Rev F [ather] Van Quickenborne I learn that the 
F[ather] General declines or indefinitely adjourns the execution of his 
solemn promise to send us a separate Superior for the Mission of Missouri, 
and that yr Rev[eren]ce still remains charged with its direction until fur- 
ther orders from Rome. I must therefore apply to your authority to enable 
F. Van Quickenborne to bear the enormous burthen which now rests solely 
upon his weak shoulders To this end I repeatedly urged him to get some 
of his scholastics ordained- He constantly eluded the question and now he 
writes me that the thing does not depend on him, without telling me on 
whom it does defend. Now, my dear Father, it is evident to all, that this 
excellent man overstrains his strength by the intent and constancy of his 
labors Nothing short of a miracle can make him endure such a fatigue above 
one or two years What then would be the fate of that establishment, if he 
had no Priest to succeed him? Had he now a couple, there would be a 
great hope to preserve his valuable life for years to come. And yet you 
know what sacrifices I have made to secure the perpetual cooperation of 
your Society. Should it fail, would it be just the Diocese should lose the 
propei ty I have given you for that express purpose? F [ather] Van Q. has 
purchased another property in the rising and neighboring city of St Charles 
In the event of his death what will become of it? Would not the Farm of 
Florissant be in danger of being sold, and probably for a trifle, to pay for 
the house in St. Charles and for other debts? 

In such a state of things, I confess to you that I live under continual 
apprehension, and I cannot comprehend the affected silence kept or the 
evasive answers given on so natural a demand, as that he should present 
for ordination two or three of his scholastics, who have already three or 
four years study of divinity. Were I a stranger to my Diocese, a stricter 
system of reserve could not be kept with me. It is not thus I proceeded with 
yr. Society, my dear Father, my conduct was and always will be marked 
with candour and frankness. I have kept whatever I promised and have 
done even more So indifferent a return is not calculated to warm my 
attachment or increase my confidence. Had I better reasons to be pleased 
with that \Ac\ of yr. Fathers, I think I could be of material service to 
themj I certainly feel disposed to it. But what can I do, when I see myself 
thrown at such a distance from the secret of their operations, and almost 


trifled with, in matters, in which, however, I think that my vote as bishop, 
should carry some weight. 

I speak my sentiments as they are and you will make allowances for 
the natural solicitude of a Pastor, who, aftei all, has the fiist responsibility 
for his flock My devotion to yr Society has been eveiywhere known, ever 
since I could foim an opinion, but allow me to tell you that I nevei could 
approve that system of policy which everywhere shrouds all its steps in an 
impenetrable veil If I, a steady fnend, if ever you had any, feel shocked 
at it, what must be the feelings of its enemies, and what scope does not 
this deplorable atyearance of duplicity give them to justify their inveteracy 
against it? Surely, it is not the means of prepossessing any one m its favor 

For Religion's sake, I adjure you to relieve me from that intolerable 
conflict between affection and distrust I also request anew, in the name of 
God, that a peremptory order may be forthwith issued for the immediate 
ordination of at least two or three of your scholastics in Missouri, by which 
Ffather] Van Qfmckenboine] be relieved of part of his oppressive charge 
and a hope of succession in that establishment be better secured against 

I send a copy of this letter to F. Van Q Be pleased to remember me 
most cordially to yr Rev Fathers and Brothers, and be assured that even 
what may bear the appearance of seventy m the above lines has been dic- 
tated by the sincere attachment and respect with which I profess to be, of 
yr revered Society, and of yr Reverence 

The most affectionate & dev. servant 

L Wm Bp. N Orl 47 
[Louis William Bishop of New Orleans]. 

Father Dzierozynski's reply to this communication from the Bishop 
of New Orleans is not extant, but from a second letter of the prelate, 
presently to be cited, it may be gathered that the Maryland superior 
was not ready to accept as founded on fact the indictment that had been 
brought against his order. At the same time it is intelligible that the air 
of unnecessary secretiveness which Van Quickenborne contrived at times 
to throw around his affairs could readily give offense to so sensitive a 
person as Bishop Du Bourg It was indeed an idiosyncrasy which on 
more than one occasion elicited complaint from his own associates o 
the Missouri Mission Du Bourg's letter of October 24, 1825, to Dziero- 
zynski struck a note of regret not unmixed with a little bantering as he 
recalled his stern language of a few months before* 

Your kind letter of August 27 last has reached me at this extremity 
[Natchitoches] of my diocese, where I have been on a mission for a month 
It would be difficult to express to you the pleasure it has brought me despite 
the reflections, pretty well deserved, it would appear, which you make on 

47 Du Bourg to DzierozynsLi, New Orleans, July 10, 1825 (B). 


my preceding letter Differences of this nature between persons woikmg 
for the same end and like yourself, my Rev Father, animated by the spirit 
of God are always easy to bring to an end, and with that in view you have 
taken a step which, were I capable of being seriously prejudiced against your 
Society, would have dissipated in an instant all my prejudices But the fact 
is that I have not ceased to esteem it, to honor it and to desire sincerely its 
establishment m my diocese, and the very heat with which I complained 
of the delays that have ensued in consolidating the Mission of St Ferdinand, 
proceeded (as you yourself have correctly judged) only from the fear of 
seeing prove abortive m its very germ an enterprise on behalf of which you 
and I, as well as your brethren of Missouri, have already made so many 
sacrifices Pardon me these sallies of a zeal perhaps a little too human, but 
what am I saying? Do you not give me the most convincing proof that 
you pardon me them, by informing me that you have already forwarded to 
Father Van Quickenborne an order for the ordination as soon as possible 
of two of his scholastics and further, that you have sent him a precious 
reenforcement of two subjects, one of whom is that excellent Father De 
Theux, for whom I have always felt deep veneration and esteem and for 
whom, if I mistake not, I particularly asked you. Behold, then, your dear 
Society consolidated m this destitute extremity of my immense diocese 
I am at ease today m regard to its future, and I feel the weight of my 
solicitude lightened by a good half I have often had the desire to see your 
Fathers charged with the parish and town of St Louis Mr. De Theux 
would appear to me a very proper person to undertake this charge, not less 
than Father Van Quickenborne. Possibly, however, until permission comes 
from Rome to ordain the 4 other scholastics, your Fathers will not find 
themselves in a position to take over this additional concern I leave the 
matter to you and them, expressing at the same time my desire to see speedily 
a consummation which cannot but bring honor to your Society and perhaps 
procure it new recruits. 

Despite the pain which I share with you to see you threatened with the 
loss of Father Fenwick, who fills so worthily the post of President of your 
College of Georgetown, I cannot but rejoice and bless God for his nomina- 
tion to the See of Boston and to avow to you, that on my fart, I had begged 
it both of God and of Rome with the most earnest entreaties. I have done 
more I have asked for the union of the two Sees of Boston and New York 
in his person; and I have neglected nothing to have my colleagues, the 
Bishops, enter into my views; regarding, as I do, Father Benedict Fenwick 
as the only man who can heal the wounds of our churches of the East 
and establish the Episcopate in that quarter on a basis stable and honorable 
for Religion. I understand perfectly his repugnances and I praise him for 
the opposition he is making, but it will have to be that he yield, as so many 
others, to the will of the Supreme Chief, and devote himself to the good of 
the church. I exhort him as my one-time son and as my Brother to-day to 
place all his confidence m Him who, on sending his ministers, has promised 
to be always with them What could we do without Him? But on the 


other hand with Him, is there anything of which our weakness is not 
capable ? 

To return to our quarrel First, I must tell you that you did well to 
pardon me without waiting for my act of contrition, for, far from repent- 
ing of my great anger against you, I am on the contrary veiy glad of it, 
since it has led to such happy results I must add, however, that I should 
not have allowed myself to go to that length, had I known that permission 
to ordain subjects must come from Rome. But whose fault is it that I did 
not know it ? Father Van Quickenborne had only to say one word on the 
matter, instead of returning vague answers to all my entreaties, I would 
have waited patiently and refrained carefully from complaining of him 01 
of anybody; for I am very strong for the observance of rules, without it 
I would not give a penny for a religious Society And so, my dear good 
Father, we have explained ourselves each to the other and become as good 
friends as before, greater friends we could not be, for the Society has always 
been the dream of my soul and the idol of my heart Perhaps on that account 
I believe I have the right to [protest?] against it, when it is unwilling to 
listen to me Probably also a little French blood shows there, the warmth of 
which my sixty years have not yet allayed. Greater for all that ought to be 
your assurance of the liveliness of the respectful affection which I bear you 
and in the name of which I ask a share in your prayers and sacrifices 4S 

The chronic fears of the Bishop for the health of the man who pre- 
sided over the only house of Jesuits in his diocese and for the distressing 
consequences which would follow his collapse had not been groundless 
The physical condition of Van Quickenborne went from bad to worse. 
Months after the crisis about to be told had passed, Elet, the scholastic, 
thought that it must be by a sort of miracle that his superior was able 
to be on his feet at all. 49 In July, 1825, the intrepid missionary lay 
stricken anew with fever, awaiting what appeared to be the final sum- 
mons. All along he had reacted with uniform courage to the trials that 
came one by one to test his fortitude. But now his spirits seemed to sink 
under the strain. To his superior, Father Dzierozynski, he wrote. 

More to comply with duty and the desire of Ours than anything else, 
I feel obliged to give you the following statement- About the beginning of 
last month I was taken with a bilious fever, proceeding from exceeding 
fatigue m going to the sick in the heat of the day and the dew of the 
night, almost without rest. The fever has left me. I am lingering and 
consider myself as going with rapid steps to the grave. Nothing however, 
of this, have I spoken to any of Ours or to others I think the time is come 
for your Reverence to make a sacrifice and send Father Dubuisson without 
delay. . . . The scholastics now without sacraments, Mass, etc. may suffer 

48 Du Bourg a Dzierozynski, Natchitoches, October 24, 1825, (B) 

49 "Et mvraculo factum dicete non dubito quod intolerabih oneii necdum 
succubuerit" Elet ad Dzierozynski, December 31, 1825. (B). 


considerably and discouragement, yea, despair, thinking themselves aban- 
doned, may disband them A great odium will be laid upon the Society for 
treating in this way youths of great talents and just dispositions, after so 
many sacrifices made, etc What will the Bishop say? How will you stand 
before the government? Be sure, Reverend Father, I have committed no 
excess in labors of my choice I have gone to the sick when called only 
and that to such persons as were in extreme necessity I do not think that 
our house can be kept up by Ours here. My last will is in order I leave no 
debts The number of Indians amounts to nineteen. I have to write on most 
important matters but am not able to do so. 50 

Happily Van Quickenborne's illness did not take the fatal turn that 
he expected. Little by little his strength returned and he was able to 
resume his round of duties Four months after his letter to Dzierozynski 
he received this message from Du Bourg "I am extremely glad to 
learn of your recovery and beg of you always to have a care for your 
health. It is to the uneasiness which it occasioned me that you must 
attribute the rigorous measures which I have taken and which have 
caused you a chagrin I should like to have spared you." 51 


The Jesuit novitiate at Florissant closed de jacto as well as de jure 
on October 10, 1823, when the six scholastics then in residence were 
admitted to their first vows 52 Thereupon for a space of several years 
there were no scholastic novices at all m training nor was Father Van 
Quickenborne authorized to receive any without permission of his supe- 
rior in Maryland. His letters to Dzierozynski at this period disclose 
repeated plans for the maintenance of "the novitiate to be opened here 
by your Reverence with the authority of Rev. Father General." 53 
Instead of presiding over a novitiate the Florissant superior now found 
himself, though not having made his tertianship or pronounced his final 
vows, at the head of a Jesuit scholasticate or house of higher studies. 54 
"A few days after our noviceship," the scholastic Van Assche informed 
his friend, De Nef, in April, 1824, "we began the study of philosophy 
and after some months we shall take up theology." 55 Van Quicken- 

60 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, Florissant, August, 1825. (B). 

51 Du Bourg a Van Quickenborne, New Orleans, November 9 [?], 1825. (B). 

52 Cf We had a novitiate here It closed of itself for lack of novices." De Theux 

-, April, 1831 Ann Ptof, 5 573 

53 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, December 19, 1825. (B). 

64 The tertianship is a third year of novitiate spent by the Jesuit shortly after 
his ordination to the priesthood and before he is permitted to take the final vows 
which bind him to the order 

55 Van Assche a De Nef, Florissant, April 29, 1824. (A). 


borne, now charged with the direction of the young men's studies, had 
no end of questions to propose to Dzierozynski, How much time is to 
be given to logic and metaphysics? May the scholastics be easily dis- 
pensed from fasting rattone studn (by reason of studies) ? How long 
should the Easter holidays last? Since fish is scarce in these parts, may 
the customary diocesan dispensation from the Lenten abstinence be 
taken advantage of by the community? May the scholastics be presented 
to the bishop for tonsure? 56 Hard put to it as he was to provide for the 
material support of his community, the superior was determined that no 
stress of poverty or hardship should prevent the Jesuit youths from 
enjoying the full round of study to which according to the Institute of 
the Society of Jesus they were entitled. "The period of their educa- 
tion," he wrote to Dzierozynski, "ought not to be shortened for the 
sake of temporal things." 57 

The first session of the new scholasticate came to an end in August, 
1824, with a public disputation in philosophy, for which invitations were 
sent to Father Niel, president of St Louis College, and General Wil- 
liam Clark. m With the following session, to begin October, 1824, the 
study of theology was introduced. The lack of priests now created a 
curious situation by placing some of the scholastics in professors' chairs 
Messrs. Elet and Verhaegen lectured three times a week for hour 
periods on dogmatic theology with Sardagna as a text Scripture was 
taught by Mr Verhaegen twice a week while a "circle" or defense 
of theological theses was conducted twice a week under Elet's direction 
Father Van Quickenborne himself took the classes in moral theology, 
lecturing four times a week to the scholastics, each of whom was pro- 
vided with a copy of Busenbaum's Medulla Theologiae and Ligoun's 
Homo Apostokcus. 5 * 

It was scarcely to be expected that the expedient of thus raising 
young men, themselves m need of training and instruction, to the dig- 
nity of professors of divinity, would prove a success. Elet's conduct of 
the class was not without embarrassment to himself, while Verhaegen in 
spite of obvious ability and scholarship did not dispose of theological 
difficulties to the satisfaction of all. Elet on his part protested to Father 
Dzierozynski his unfitness for the task. "But who am I?" he exclaims 
"I was scarcely a pupil and now I am become a professor." "However, 
we shall go on," he continues, "but with what results? I will tell you. 
A little of everything but nothing thoroughly." 60 As to Van Quicken- 

56 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, Florissant, January i, 1824. (B). 

57 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, Florissant, February 17, 1824 (B). 

58 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, Florissant, August 24, 1824 (B). 

59 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, Florissant, January 10, 1825. (B). 

60 Elet ad Dzierozynski, December 31, 1825. (B). 


borne, ill-health and the pressure of temporal concerns forced him to 
relinquish his class in moral theology He was not only the superior 
of the little community, but its only priest. When forced to take to bed 
with illness, which was often, or when parochial duties called him away 
to Florissant, St Charles or Portage des Sioux, the scholastics were left 
without Mass, sometimes for a week at a time. The situation which 
developed became so distressing that one of the young men made bold 
to petition the superior m Maryland for another priest. In a letter to 
Father Dzierozynski Mr. Elet expressed himself' with feeling "Would 
that you could send us Father De Theux, a man remarkable alike for 
piety and learning. Then we would forget the past and make light of 
the discomforts created here by an oppressive climate, incessant rams 
and an unfinished house. We should gladly take upon ourselves the 
work of the house and even spend our recreation days outdoors in 
manual labor." And he concluded with the appeal, "da nofas ^patrem 
et suffice" ("give us a father and it is enough"). Urgent also was the 
appeal made by Mr. Verhaegen to the Maryland superior and by the 
latter forwarded to the General- 

Doubtless, you are not unaware how weak is the health of our Rev. 
Father Superior. But it seems to me I have just reason to suspect that you 
do not know of his frequent spells of sickness, which will probably not 
dimmish but rather increase m number in the summer time unless the cause 
of them be stopped in due time To my mind he is unfit to discharge for 
any length of time the laborious duties incumbent on him, especially m 
this country of America, where not only the unsettled and suddenly shifting 
weather but also the hardships of the roads render a missionary's functions 
very trying. The care not only of one village but of all the Catholics in 
the neighboring places devolves on him alone When the last hour comes, 
they call for the priest He satisfies this desire of theirs and indeed burns 
to satisfy it worthily He is therefore necessarily led into truly difficult 
situations, but these his weak constitution could probably bear were not 
other difficulties added on For, besides, he teaches moral theology, has the 
management of our farm and is Spiritual Father, which duties seem to 
me to demand a man's entire attention Nay, some of them scarcely seem 
compatible with the functions of a missionary. For there are frequent inter- 
ruptions in the lectures in moral theology and whole weeks pass by without 
our being given a spiritual instruction. Allow me also to remark that he 
has to be absent from the house repeatedly, so that we can hear Mass 
scarcely three or four times a week. In view of these circumstances, I have 
thought it expedient, Rev. Father, to ask you in all earnestness to deign 
to send us a Father as soon as possible, who may at once relieve our Father 
Superior and, if it so please your Paternity, be a master and guide to us in 
our studies I feel convinced that all my confreres confidently expect to 
receive this favor and I am not afraid of doing anything to their displeasure 


if I say that this petition of mine expresses the common desire of them all 
If therefore you deign to accede to my request, you will put us all under 
the greatest obligation and if the new year which we begin entitles us to 
ask for any special token of your love in our regard, this one thing we ask 
and beg for For the rest we continue to be well and, as far as I may 
conjecture, all my companions are content m their vocation 61 

The circumstances that had thus made it expedient, if not necessary, 
for the scholastics to report the true situation at Florissant to the supe- 
rior of the mission were indeed abnormal. There was no priest, other 
than the local superior himself, to discharge this duty and it was to 
be feared that he, in his excess of zeal, might picture things as much less 
serious than they really were. Only two Jesuit officials were authorized 
to send the needed help to Missouri, the Father General and the Mary- 
land superior. Both had been made acquainted with the situation, but 
it was some time before anything could be done by either to relieve it. 
Van Quickenborne, so Dzierozynski wrote to the General in September, 

1824, "is the only priest at Florissant, he asks me for aid, which I 
cannot give unless I am ready to make a big hole in Maryland (mgens 
foramen m Maryland^ jacere). And yet I see that he cannot be left 
alone. . . * I should not consider it rash in the least to say to your 
Paternity that now is the very time to staff that seminary of ours at 
Florissant with competent Fathers and missionaries/ 7 The Maryland 
superior, on his part, was not to be left at rest as regarded the crisis 
that had developed m the West. This latter was the burden of repeated 
letters from Van Qtuckenborne and Bishop Du Bourg. Moreover, the 
scholastics had joined in the appeal for help, while even Mother 
Duchesne made an attempt to interest St. Madeleine Sophie Barat in 
the affair and induce her to take up with the Father General the ques- 
tion of having some of the scholastics promoted to the priesthood. But 
what proved decisive in all this correspondence was the letter of July, 

1825, written by Van Quickenborne to his superior in the East under 
what he believed to be the shadow of approaching death. This letter 
Dzierozynski transmitted to the Father General to give him an idea of 
how things stood at Florissant while he wrote at once to Van Quicken- 
borne "How I felt on receiving your letter, you must keenly realize." 
Relief was no longer to be delayed and, accordingly, Father John Theo- 
dore De Theux and Brother John O'Connor were dispatched from 
Georgetown to join the somewhat disheartened colony in the West. 

Father De Theux was a native son of Liege, in Belgium, where he 
was born January 25, 1789. His parents were of the nobility and dis- 
tinguished no less for Chnstian piety than social standing. After divinity 

81 Verhaegen ad Dzierozynski, 1825 (B) 


studies in Namur he was raised to the priesthood June 21, 1812, and 
then immediately named vicar of the parish of St. Nicholas in Liege. 
Belgium lay prostrate at this juncture under the Napoleonic regime. 
The prisons and hospitals of Liege were full to overflowing with 
Spanish prisoners of war. In his eagerness to bring them spiritual re- 
lief the young priest set himself the task of learning Spanish The 
horrors of pestilence were soon added to those of captivity. Nothing 
daunted, De Theux went in among the prisoners, breathed the disease- 
laden air of their forbidding quarters, and in the end paid the penalty 
of his zeal by contracting the plague. He was nursed back to health 
under the roof of his parents, but not until the infection had passed to 
several members of his family, among them a brother, whose sickness 
terminated in death In 1815 he was appointed administrator of the 
diocese of Liege and in this capacity presided at the opening of the 
episcopal seminary, in which he discharged the duties of professor of 
dogmatic theology and holy scripture. 62 

But the scene of Father De Theux's life-work was not to be his 
native Belgium. That indefatigable missionary of Kentucky, Father 
Nermckx, crossed his path. Moved to the quick by the missionary's 
pathetic recital of the Church's needs in America, the young clergyman 
of Liege determined to follow his fellow-countryman overseas. He 
promptly communicated this design to his family, renounced the right 
of succession to his father's title in favor of his brother Bartholomew, 
later Count De Theux de Meylandt, minister of state of Belgium, and 
in March, 1816, left Antwerp for America with a single companion, 
Father Lekeu. The two sought and obtained admission into the Jesuit 
Mission of Maryland. 63 On August 7 the doors of the novitiate at 
White Marsh opened to receive them and two years later, August 18, 
1818, De Theux was admitted to his first vows. 64 Six years of parochial 
service, chiefly at Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown, was the out- 
standing feature of his career in the eastern United States. Visible suc- 
cess attended his ministry. Mutual esteem and affection developed be- 
tween the congregation of Holy Trinity and its zealous pastor and the 

62 Le Pete Theodore de Theux de la Comfagnie de Jesus et la Mission Beige du 
Missouri (Roulers, 1913) The only printed English account of De Theux is m 
De Smet, Western Missions and Missionaries A French ms. life containing tran- 
scripts of numerous letters written by De Theux to his family is in the Missouri 
Province Archives. 

63 "Sfretis mundi illecebns et titulis abdicatis? "The allurements of the world 
having been spurned and his titles renounced." Inscription on De Theux's tomb- 
stone, St. Stanislaus Seminary, Florissant, Mo. 

64 According to the French life, Le Pere Theodore De Theux, etc , p 40, the 
father arrived with his companion at White Marsh on September 6. 


circumstance made the relmquishment of his charge a trial keenly felt 
by both. 

Early in September, 1825, Father De Theux set out for the West 
accompanied by Brother John O'Connor, a native of Tullamore m 
Ireland, and now in his forty-fifth year The two travellers followed 
in the path of Van Quickenborne's expedition of two years previous, 
taking the Cumberland Road, the usual highway of emigrant travel to 
the West. They journeyed by stage as far as Wheeling, where they 
took passage on a flat-boat for Cincinnati, the low-water stage of the 
Ohio putting steamboats out of commission Particulars of his overland 
trip to the Ohio are contained in a letter of De Theux's to Dzierozynski, 
dated "near Wheeling," September 24, 1825 

We arrived m Wheeling last Thursday evening Fathei McEhoy will 
have told your Reverence that we were detained at Fredenckstown two 
days for want of room m the stage From fatigue and a kind of sickness 
at the stomach we stopped one and a half days with Rev. Mr Ryan in 
Cumberland, thence proceeded to Wheeling, whence, as there was no 
conveyance to Cincinnati, we walked yesterday afternoon to good Mr 
Thompson's, seven and a half miles from Wheeling Here I said Mass this 
morning, and will, Deo dante y tomorrow. He will then take us in his 
carryall back to Wheeling, whence we will immediately sail in a flat-boat 
for Cincinnati We hope to be there tomorrow week. The waters are too 
low as yet for steamboats Besides these little trials our jouiney has hitherto 
been very prosperous People have everywhere been kind and good to us 
Our stage-companions, though not of the household of the faith, were 
decent and in every way well-behaved people 65 

Early in the journey to Wheeling, Father De Theux, while staying 
in a Jesuit residence on the way, probably Frederick, learned of the 
death of his father, Count De Theux, The superior of the residence, 
who had received the news some time before, withheld it from the 
priest till the morning after his arrival. Going to the latter's room, 
where he was engaged in prayer in preparation for Mass, the superior 
quietly said to him, "you had better say Mass this morning for your 
father's soul." De Theux received the news with characteristic equanim- 
ity. That same day he wrote to Father Dzierozynski and to friends 
at Georgetown, including the Visitation nuns, petitioning prayers for his 
father's soul. Nor did he forget his pious mother, to whom he wrote 
immediately on his arrival at Flonssant to lend her what consolation 
he could in her bereavement. 66 

65 De Theux to Dzierozynski, near Wheeling, September 24, 1825. (B) 
86 Le Pert Theodore De Theux y etc., p 82 



With the arrival of Father De Theux at Florissant on October 10, 
1825, the strain of the unpleasant situation there was palpably relieved. 
Van Quickenborne, now fairly recovered from his recent illness, wrote 
October 29 to the Maryland superior, thanking him for the dispatch 
of the two Jesuits from the East. "I have always had the highest 
esteem for Father De Theux and I expect much from him for our 
little mission." 67 Bishop Du Bourg likewise expressed his thanks 
to Dzierozynski for sending to Florissant "that excellent Father De 
Theux, for whom I have always entertained the deepest sentiments of 
veneration and esteem and for whom, if I mistake not, I asked you in 
particular." 8 And Mr. Van de Velde, Jesuit scholastic at Georgetown 
College, in a letter to his Flemish friends at Florissant of which De 
Theux was the bearer, wrote 

The news which we have lately received respecting the impaired state 
of health of your worthy Superior has greatly afflicted us Whatever may 
be the result of his sickness, Providence will not abandon you, you have 
left much to enlist under the standard of Jesus Christ and he will not leave 
you destitute of the means necessary to enable you to fight his battles 
Father De Theux, the bearer of the present, is a man of exemplary piety 
and indefatigable zeal and the only one that could heal the wound which 
the death of Father Van Q would inflict on your heart. I do not praise him 
because he is a Belgian The tears that have been shed by almost all the 
members of his congregation that were present at his farewell address and 
that have not been dried since the moment that he announced his de- 
parture are the best testimony of his zeal and virtue You will find m him 
a father and a protector. . . . Everyone now looks upon St. Ferdinand 
with as interested an eye as they formerly looked upon the missions of Chile 
and Paraguay We all expect great things from you I hope that you will 
not disappoint us in our expectations. 09 

Father De Theux was quick to acquaint himself with the conditions 
that prevailed m his new home and three weeks after his arrival 
sent off to Father Dzierozynski a letter packed with informing de- 
tails. There was the same drink for all, in the morning, coffee with 
sugar and milk, at noon, cider mixed with water, m the evening, tea 
with milk. In this part of the country, De Theux observes, drink is 
never taken unmixed, not even at the best tables. Two hundred chickens 
furnish eggs for the community, an indispensable article of diet here, 
as fish is scarce, the Missouri River, so the report goes, furnishing none 

67 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, Florissant, October 29, 1825. (B). 

68 Du Bourg a Dzierozynski, October 24, 1825, (B) 

69 Van de Velde to Verhaegen, Van Assche et al , April 25, 1825. (A). 


at all. Clothing and linen are made and repaired by the Ladies of the 
Sacred Heart. 70 De Theux took up at once his duties as professor of 
dogmatic theology. But the long years he spent in the sacred ministry 
had withdrawn him too entirely from scholastic pursuits to enable him 
to score a new success in the lecture-hall Two months after De Theux's 
arrival at Florissant, Van Quickenborne reported frankly to the Mary- 
land superior that the new professor was slow of thought (tardae con- 
ceytioms est), adding a request that Mr. Verhaegen be retained as 
teacher of theology, since Father De Theux distrusted his ability to give 
all the lectures and, as a matter of fact, covered very little ground 
in an hour's class. 71 

The year 1825 was to run its course without seeing any of the 
scholastics raised to the priesthood, though permission to this effect had 
now been obtained The reasons for Van Quickenborne's delay in pre- 
senting the young men for orders are set forth by him in a communica- 
tion to Bishop Rosatr 

I have received your letter written on board the steamboat It has re- 
lieved us from much uneasiness with the good news it brings concerning 
your health. I must thank you also, Monseigneur, for your kindness in 
sending us directions concerning the journey from our place to your 
seminary. I cannot express the pleasure it would have been to me to go 
and see you m company with two of our scholastics I was looking forward 
to this happiness even before winter, but the severe weather and the im- 
probability of getting across the streams have deprived me of all hope for 
this year. 

The two young men would not have come with me, because m the 
case of one, I wish to obtain a decision from our Superior on an important 
point, and in the case of the other, I believe that a postponement will be to 
his advantage in regard to studies I do not need them just now as I feel 
myself strong enough with Father De Theux's assistance to manage my 
affairs; moreover, not having any Mass intentions to discharge and being 
determined not to station any of Ours in a place where his support will not 
be virtually guaranteed, I hope that the ordination of the young men at 
another time will lead to better results. 72 

Within a few weeks of the date of this letter, Messrs. Smedts and 
Verhaegen received major orders. Verreydt was one of the two whom 
the superior had first intended to present for orders, but the choice 
was subsequently altered and Verhaegen substituted m his place. Bishop 
Rosati was the ordaining prelate, the ceremonies taking place partly m 

70 De Theux a Dzierozynski, November 13, 1825. (B). Fish, though not m 
quantities, is found m the lower Missouri 

71 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, Florissant, December 19, 1825. (B). 

72 Van Quickenborne a Rosati, Florissant, December 13, 1825. (C). 


the seminary chapel at the Barrens, and partly in the parish church at 
the same place. Mr Smedts was the first of the two to be ordained. 
On January 22, 25, and 29, 1826, he received in succession the sub- 
diaconate, diaconate and priesthood, while on February 26, and March 
5 and u, Mr. Verhaegen received the same orders in like succession. 73 
The promotion of the two young Jesuits to the priesthood, though 
it doubled the number of fathers at St. Ferdinand's, did not dispel 
the fears which Van Quickenborne entertained for the future of his 
community. The farm, the chief means of material support on which 
he could rely, gave him much concern. In October, 1826, he protested 
to the Maryland head of the mission that, if a stop were put to the 
improvements which were being made on the farm, the mission would 
soon decline into ruin. "Who will pay," he asks, "for the expenses at 
St Charles? Who will provide us with books? As it is, we have not 
even breviaries. Before long we shall have six newly ordained priests 
As no fixed revenue is provided for them, they will have nothing to 
begin on We began here m the greatest poverty and endured all things 
patiently Now they look for better things " Then follow details about 
the Seminary farm, which throw light on agricultural methods in 
Missouri in the early nineteenth century. The farm is not like those 
m Maryland, it is %n -fieri Something has been done on it but much 
remains to be done. The land is not even cleared. 74 Income is derived 
from many small things which in Maryland would be scorned, for 
instance, wood is gathered m the Commons and sold to the nuns. The 

73 Memorandum (B) "At 1045, m the church, solemn pontifical mass, dur- 
ing which, after a short talk to the people on the nature, offices and obligations of 
the subdiaconate, I promoted to that Order J. B Smedts, acolyte of the Society of 
Jesus, presented by his Superior, titulo paufertatts" Diary of Bishop Rosati, Janu- 
ary 22, 1826. "At half past ten celebrated solemn pontifical mass in the church, 
during which, after explaining to the people the nature and power of the order of 
the priesthood, and the ceremonies and rites of ordination, I promoted to that same 
order of the priesthood J B Smedts of the Society of Jesus " Iem, January 29, 
1826 SLCHR, 4 169, 170 "I delayed ordaining Fr. Verhaegen a little more than 
you [Father Van Quickenborne] anticipated because I like to hold ordinations on 
the days appointed by the Church, we had, moreover, some candidates of our own 
Fr Verhaegen has edified us very much, as has done Fr Smedts, I congratulate you 
on getting this addition, and pray God to continue to give you increase." Rosati a 
Van Quickenborne, March n, 1826 SLCHR> 4 181 

74 "In front of the house was an orchard of good fruit , beyond the orchard was 
a field containing about thirty acres of cultivated land, and at the distance of half 
a mile still further on was a second field of fertile land, bordering on Cold Water 
Creek. The portion of farm to the rear, or northwest of the house, was still covered 
with primeval forest extending back to the Missouri River, and the rest of the land 
was overrun with hazel thickets, interspersed with clumps of stunted oak, and here 
and there with lawns or small meadows of wild prairie-grass." Hill, History of the 
St. Lottis University, p, 29. 


farm is situated in the Common Fields of St. Ferdinand's, i e. for one 
field containing the farms of eighteen individuals, there is but one fence 
kept up in common by all 75 This is a wretched system, for the fields 
being open very often until May, it is impossible to raise any grain. 
It is true that this year we have raised upwards of two hundred bushels 
of wheat, but if the hogs had not destroyed the wheat in the common 
field, the crop would have been double that quantity. If the farm there- 
fore is to pay, it must be fenced in at once. Besides a fence around the 
farm, two other things are needed, a tobacco-house and a mill. Here 
there are no water-mills, but horse-mills. These cost very little. An out- 
lay of one hundred and fifty dollars will cover the expense. But without 
these three things, namely, a good wheat-crop, a tobacco-house, and a 
mill, the farm will do little towards supporting the community. 76 

The letter which contains the foregoing report of Van Quickenborne 
concerning the Seminary farm and the difficulties which its management 
entailed concludes with a pressing invitation to the Maryland superior 
to pay an official visit to his subjects in far-off Missouri. "If there is 
anything that I should urge upon you to do, it is to pay us a visit in 
the spring. This trip from Georgetown to St. Louis can be made 
m twelve days . . . believe me, Your Reverence does not know Mis- 
souri." 77 Father Dzierozynski, who for three years had followed with 
sympathy the vicissitudes of the little Jesuit group on the western 
frontier, as portrayed with graphic pen in Van Quickenborne's frequent 
reports to the East, felt with the latter that nothing less than a personal 
visit would enable him to see the situation there in its true light. More- 
over, and this was his principal reason for making the visit, he wished 
to preside at the examinations of the scholastics, who were now about to 
finish their theological studies. Dzierozynski's broad sympathies and 
deep religious piety endeared him greatly to his subordinates. One gets 
an impression of the reverence felt for him from the request made by 
the coadjutor-brother, Henry Reiselman, to a Jesuit correspondent* 
"My respects, if you please, to our holy Father Dzierozynski. Try to 
get some relic of him, be it only some of his hair and send it. I am 
much mistaken if he will not perform miracles before or after his 
death." 78 Again, there are the words of Father Benedict Fenwick writ- 
ten to Bishop Du Bourg "This much, however, I know, that however 

75 As late as May 14, 1832, twelve of the "land-holders of the big field," 
signed a ten-year agreement to pay annually to Father De Theux sums aggregating 
$17 S?*4 "for the use of his fence" (A) 

76 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, Florissant, October II, 1826. (B). 

77 Ibut. 

78 Henry Reiselman to George Fenwick, St. Charles, Mo, August 23, 1830 


indulgent I may be deemed I act now at least under obedience, which is 
one long step towards the summit of that perfection which is recom- 
mended [by] and which is so completely exemplified in Father 
Dzierozynski." 79 

On July 1 8, 1827, Father Dzierozynski arrived at Florissant, then 
the only Jesuit establishment in the United States west of the Alle- 
ghames. 80 He was present at the examination in dogmatic theology 
which the young men without exception were required to undergo, now 
that they had completed their scholastic studies 81 De Theux and the 
visiting superior constituted the board of examiners, Van Quickenborne 
having petitioned earnestly not to be required to share this duty with 
them. The records of the day make but a passing mention of Dziero- 
zynski's stay in Missouri. "Our father superior arrived the 1 8th of this 
month [July]," Van Quickenborne informed Bishop Rosati, "and has 
to leave towards the beginning of August. He intends to go and present 
his respects to your Lordship before the end of this month I fear very 
much that he will take away some of our subjects, of whom he says he 
has a great need in Maryland " 82 Van Quickenborne's fears were not 
realized; the Maryland superior left the slender personnel of the 
Florissant establishment as he found it. "Rev. father superior speaks of 
leaving us the day after the feast of St. Ignatius [July 31]," Mr. Van 
Assche wrote in a letter to the East "We are hoping that he misses his 
chance of getting away, as in that case he shall have to remain with us 
a few days longer. We will hold him here by mam force unless he 
promises to return in two or three years. He has given us every possible 
satisfaction." Father Dzierozynski left Florissant behind him on August 
2, arriving on the 30th of the same month at Georgetown, whence he 
wrote m December to the Father General 

I shall not stop to tell of the chanty and joy with which I was received 
at Florissant by the brethren, with whom on reaching there I had much 
talk to the accompaniment of mutual embraces and tears, nor shall I speak 
of the aid I brought them in the shape of various offerings from Belgium 
and France forwarded to me for this mission and amounting in all to 
eighteen hundred dollars I should like, as far as I can do it, to picture this 
choice little farm to your Paternity's eyes Not in vain is the place called 
Florissant, though it is still m the wilderness and close to the Indians, for 

79 B Fenwick to Du Bourg, September u, 1823 New Orleans Archdiocesan 
Archives Father Francis Dzierozynski, born at Orza in Russia January 3, 1779, 
became a Jesuit August 13, 17949 died at Frederick, Maryland, September 22, 

80 Van Quickenborne a Rosati, July 21, 1827 (C) 

81 Van Assche a De Nef, January 3, 1828 (A) 

82 Van Quickenborne a Rosati, Florissant, July 21, 1827. (C). 


it glistens prettily upon a hillock like a flower setting off the fertile fields 
and far-flung meadows The Missouri and Mississippi Rivers water its 
environs It is only fifteen miles from St. Louis, the metropolis of Missouri 
and but two from the famous Spanish village named St Ferdinand 
Owing to the fertility of the soil and the abundance of live stock the Floris- 
sant farm, though not more than two hundred and forty acres in extent, 
is amply sufficient to support Ours, twelve in number, as also the thirteen 
Indian boys and the few slaves we brought with us from Maryland . . 
It was a special joy to me to find flourishing there religious discipline among 
Ours, piety and modesty among the Indian boys, diligence, sober and 
praiseworthy morals among the negro slaves. 83 

Immediately after the departure of Father Dzierozynski from 
Florissant the four scholastics who had not received major orders began 
to prepare themselves for that important step. The ceremonies of ordi- 
nation took place towards the end of September in the parish church 
of St. Ferdinand, the dates having been advanced so as to enable Bishop 
Rosati, the ordaining prelate, to leave in season for New Orleans, of 
which see he had been named administrator The Bishop spent three 
weeks on this occasion as a guest of the Jesuit community In St. Ferdi- 
nand's Church at Florissant Peter John De Smet, Judocus Francis Van 
Assche, John Anthony Elet and John Felix Livmus Verreydt received 
the subdiaconate on the seventeenth, the diaconate on the twenty-second 
and the priesthood on the twenty-third of September, 1827. The cere- 
monies over, Rosati departed for New Orleans. As an incident of his 
voyage to the South, the steamboat on which he had taken passage sank 
some miles below St. Louis, the Bishop barely escaping with his life. 84 

During the three months that followed their reception of holy 
orders, the young priests reviewed their moral theology, an examination 
m which they underwent at the end of December, i82y. 85 This was the 
last stage in the process of scholastic training, such as it was, to which 
they had been submitted. After the examination in moral theology came 
the Christmas holidays and with their passing all the priests at St. 
Ferdinand's, including Van Quickenborne and De Theux, entered upon 
what St. Ignatius meant to be the final process in the spiritual formation 
of the Jesuit, the tertianship or third year of probation or noviceship. 
"On the 9th of last January," wrote De Theux to his mother, "I began 
with my six pupils the third year of probation under the direction of 
Rev. Father Van Quickenborne." 86 

83 Van Assche a , Florissant, July 30, 1827. (A). Dzierozynski ad Fortis, 

December 15, 1827 (AA) 

84 Van Assche a De Nef, Florissant, January 3, 1828 (A) 

85 Van Assche a De Nef, Florissant, January 3, 1828 (A). 
88 De Theux a sa mere, Florissant, May 29, 1828 (A). 


From a scholasticate or house of studies the establishment at St. 
Ferdinand's now became what is known in Jesuit parlance as a "house 
of third probation " At its head still remained the indefatigable Van 
Quickenborne, now bearing on his shoulders the additional duties of 
master of tertians. He not only guided the priests under his charge 
through the last year of their spiritual training, but, as the unusual 
circumstances permitted of no other arrangement, he simultaneously 
discharged his own as yet unfulfilled obligation of "making the tertian- 
ship." He directed the "long retreat" of thirty days, at the same time 
going through the exercises himself as an essential feature of the spirit- 
ual probation through which he was passing in company with his 
subordinates. The retreat began on January 9 and closed February 7, 
1828. A few days after its termination the tertians were assigned for 
a period to various missionary and ministerial duties Elet was dis- 
patched on a missionary trip to the Salt River district in northeastern 
Missouri. De Smet gave the Spiritual Exercises to the Religious of the 
Sacred Heart in Florissant, while Van Assche gave them to the coad- 
jutor-brothers at the Seminary. Verhaegen and Smedts were sent, the 
one to St. Charles and the other to Portage des Sioux, to prepare the 
children of these parishes for first communion. De Theux was assigned 
to parochial duties at Florissant, while Van Quickenborne himself, tak- 
ing advantage of the momentary dispersal of his community, undertook 
a second missionary journey to the Osage Indians. 87 

With the reassembling of the young priests some time in March, 
the round of duties and exercises customary in the Jesuit tertianship 
was begun. There were instructions from Father Van Quickenborne 
a half-hour in length three times a week on the virtues necessary to a 
Jesuit, material for the instructions being drawn from the Constitu- 
tions, the decrees of general congregations and the letters of the Gen- 
erals There were, besides, half-hour lectures four times a week on the 
approved method of conducting the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. 
Two hours a day went to manual labor, an experience which the masters 
of ascetical training are generally at pains to enter on their programs 
Readings in Thomas a Kempis and Rodriguez had their appointed times 
and every day at half-past five P. M. there was a review, lasting half 
an hour, of the morning meditation. 88 

Numerous difficulties presented themselves to Father Van Quicken- 
borne as he thus discharged the important duties of master of tertians. 
But he was not above seeking counsel, and to the patient Dzierozynski 

87 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, Florissant, February 12, 1828. (B). 

88 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, Florissant, March 4, 1828 (B). The 
Practice of Christian Perfection by Alphonsus Rodriguez, S J., is tlie traditional 
text for spiritual reading in Jesuit novitiates. 


he proposed his difficulties with simple candor. He asks for certain 
instructions of Father Plowden, they would be of great assistance to 
him He asks, too, for more copies of the Constitutions, he and his 
pupils have been worrying along with a single copy He asks whether 
in place of a certain test or trial prescribed in the Institute, he could 
appoint one of the priests to take charge of the refectory and another 
to sweep the house for an entire month He would learn, too, whether 
the bulls of Julius III, Gregory XIII, Gregory XIV, and Pius V con- 
firmatory of the Society of Jesus have the same authority now that they 
had before the Suppression. He sees clearly that the bull of Julius III 
should be read, but he is not so sure of the others. He has no copy 
of the brief of Pius VII and would be pleased to receive one from 
Father Dzierozynski. 89 

In compliance with an order of the Maryland superior, the tertian- 
ship at St Ferdinand's, with three months of its normal course yet to 
run, came to an abrupt end on St Ignatius day, July 31, 1828. Van 
Quickenborne interpreted the order as signifying his superior's approval 
of the plans he had been maturing for some time for a college in St 
Louis, since, with the tertianship closed he was now in a position to 
make the necessary arrangements for that important undertaking 01 


The Concordat entered into between Bishop Du Bourg and Father 
Charles Neale played or was meant to play a highly important part in 
the affairs of the Missouri Mission The temporal status of the new 
establishment, the missionary activities of its members, the extent of 
spiritual jurisdiction to be conceded to them, and in general the scope, 
purpose and methods of the Jesuit enterprise centered at St. Ferdinand's 
were defined with more or less of precision in that remarkable docu- 
ment But the contract was to become operative and its provisions bind- 
ing on both parties only on condition of its formal approbation and 
acceptance by the Holy See and the Jesuit General. 92 The approval of 
Father Fortis, the General, was promptly given, but that of the Holy 
See for some reason or other was never obtained. Yet the parties to 
the Concordat seem to have entertained from the first no doubt of its 
eventual ratification by the Roman authorities, since without waiting 
for notice of such ratification, they at once inaugurated the Missouri 
Mission, the Mission of Maryland, by sending out twelve of its mem- 

89 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, Florissant, March 4, 1828 (B) 
9(> Same to same, September, 1828. (B) 
91 Infra, Chap IX, 3 
" Supra, Chap II, 4 



bers, and Bishop Du Bourg by giving the twelve possession of the 
promised farm. And yet, even after the expedition had started for the 
West, Van Quickenborne expressed himself as though the enterprise 
he headed was merely provisional and tentative in character. From 
Frederick in Maryland on his way out, he reminds Father Dziero- 
zynski that, "if the general accepts the Mission," it must be given an 
efficient superior and a professor of theology. 93 

Father Fortis lost no time in signifying to Bishop Du Bourg his 
approval of the Concordat and of the negotiations which had been 
carried on under its provisions. In a letter written from Rome July 25, 
1823, he acknowledges the receipt of the prelate's communication, which 
he transmitted at once to Cardinal Gonsalvi, Prefect ad vnt&nm of the 
Propaganda He is confident that the approbation of the Sacred Congre- 
gation will be given m due time He approves of all the articles of 
the Concordat, but on one point wishes a more explicit statement, which 
no doubt the Bishop really intended "It is stipulated," says Father 
Fortis, "that when the Bishop shall demand the withdrawal of an indi- 
vidual from the mission, the religious Superior must recall him immedi- 
ately, without the Bishop being required to give his reasons for recalling 
one of his missionaries. This is only just, but there ought to be a 
reciprocal right. That is to say, if the religious superior has reasons 
for recalling one of his missionaries, he ought to be able to do it with- 
out hindrance. He shall have to advise the Bishop of such step, but 
he ought not be obliged to disclose his reasons, of which he remains 
the sole judge. This reciprocity is evidently founded on justice and on 
reason." Father Fortis then goes on to observe that Benedict XIV 
formulated the same principles in his bull relative to the English mis- 
sions. He concludes by promising to send Father Barat to America, 
as the Bishop had requested, and by thanking the latter warmly for 
opening up to the Society the Indian missions of western America. 94 

Bishop Du Bourg was gratified with this communication from 
Father Fortis and at once acquainted Francis Neale, the Maryland 
superior, with its contents. He was ready to meet the General's wishes 
by making more explicit the point relative to the removal of subjects 
from the mission. "The difficulty arising, I suppose, from the extent 
of jurisdiction I was willing to abandon to the Society will be adjusted 
between your superiors in Rome and the holy Congregation of Propa- 
ganda. The moment we receive conclusive information from that quar- 
ter, I will execute the deed for the farm of Florissant in conformity 
to our agreement." 95 But the Bishop did not wait for the ratification of 

93 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, April 22, 1823 (B). 

94 Hughes, of ctt t> Doc., 2 1025. 

95 Idem, Doc, 2 1026. 


the Concordat before sending Van Quickenborne the title-deed of the 
Florissant farm. The property had been burdened with a mortgage 
of two thousand dollars held by John Mullanphy, whose insistence on 
its payment at the stipulated time caused Father Van Quickenborne no 
little anxiety. 96 Fortunately a timely contribution from the Association 
of the Propagation of the Faith enabled Bishop Du Bourg to pay off 
the mortgage before the end of 1824 We find him in January of the 
following year promising to send Van Quickenborne the deed of the 
farm without delay. 

At last, 1117 dear Father, I have just received a letter from you after 
having had to wait so long. This protracted silence has been a source of pain 
to me, as I wished to know whether you had secured the cancellation of the 
mortgage on the residence, as also to know what became of the two little 
negr esses whom I asked you to claim from Madame Haeffner Happily I 
learned that Msgr Rosati had taken them though he did not say a woid to 
me about it. You would have received the title to the property much sooner, 
had you only advised me that the property was disencumbered. I shall 
forward you the title by the first steamboat, together with the deed for the 
Dardenne lands and an interest-bearing mortgage on 800 arpents situated 
on the Salt River, which I fully make over to you. 97 The Rev Father 
Dzierozynski in a letter recently come to hand appears to be under the 
impression that your General's delay in executing his promise is due to the 
circumstance that I have not delivered to you the deed for the propeity I 
declare to you, my dear Father, that this insinuation gives me some offense, 
as though there were reasons to fear that I am not ready to stand by my 
engagements If I have not done so sooner, your own delay in the matter 
or that of Mr. Mullanphy is alone to blame But even if I were the most 
knavish of men or were to die before the execution of the title, have you not 
a complete guarantee in the bond of conveyance which I drew up at George- 
town in March, 1822 [1823] and which I transmitted to your Father 

96 Van Quickenborne to Du Bourg, Florissant, September 4, 1825 (B). Du 
Bourg had written the year before to Dzierozynski "I begin to grow rather impa- 
tient to see the accomplishment of yr Father General's promise to send us a 
Superior for the organization of our Missounan Mission Until then things will 
never take any consistency Perhaps indeed his Rev[eren]ce is detained by the delay 
of Propaganda m approving our Concordat I wish at least you would urge with 
him the necessity of pressing an explanation, the terms of which now entirely 
depend on the Court of Rome and Head of yr Society You know that the title 
of the Florissant property is yet in me. I long to make it over, but I know not to 
whom and on what conditions Matters ought not to be suffered to remain thus m 
suspense, even m the interest of yr Brethren " Du Bourg to Dzierozynski, Septem- 
ber 15, 1824 (B). 

97 Van Quickenborne later (Sept. 4, 1825), informed Bishop Du Bourg that 
the eight hundred acres were of little value "Could the eight hundred acres be 
found they are not worth 40 dollars to me. Mr Mullanphy bought last week 1500 
acres of unconfirmed land, situated 6 miles from St Louis for 85 dollars." (B). 


Procurator? 98 For my own part, I cannot believe that it is this circumstance 
which prevents your father-general from acting I believe it is rather the 
delay of the Propaganda in sanctioning the Concordat which I have made 
with the late Father Charles Neale and which has been submitted to the 
approbation of the Pope and the Father General According to stipulation, I 
was to await this double approbation before delivering the tide, but not 
doubting the approbation of the Pope, except perhaps on some incidental 
points, and having already secured that of your General, I do not hesitate to 
gratify your wish, relying implicitly on the good faith of the Society [to see 
to it] that if ever it finds itself reduced to the necessity of abandoning 
Missouri, it will leave the lands or the value thereof at the disposition of the 

In accordance with his engagement Bishop Du Bourg signed at New 
Orleans on May 25, 1825, and transmitted to Father Van Quicken- 
borne an indenture forever alienating and transferring "unto Charles 
Felix Van Quickenborne, his heirs and assigns forever, for the sum of 
five thousand dollars, the payment of which in full is hereby acknowl- 
edged, all that parcel situated in the St. Ferdinand's Common 
Fields, County of St Louis, State of Missouri, it being four arpen[t]s 
wide and about sixty in length, containing two hundred and fifty [sic] 
arpen[t]s or thereabouts." 100 The Bishop, in thus transferring the 
Florissant property to the Society of Jesus, had fulfilled an important 
stipulation of the Concordat. But the financial aid, which according to 
article 3 of the same compact he had pledged himself to extend to the 
new venture, he could not render because of his own pecuniary em- 
barrassments. The Rev. Mr. Inglesi, whom the Bishop had taken into 
his confidence and raised to the priesthood, and from whose financial 
enterprise he expected, so the report was current, fifty thousand dollars 

98 Hughes, of at, Doc, 2 1024 In Du Bourg's letter 1822 is obviously a 
mistake for 1823 The consideration of four thousand dollars specified in Du 
Bourg's bond of conveyance of March 25, 1825, is declared by him m a supple- 
mentary document of the same date, (Hughes, of ctt , Doc, 2 1024, C) to be 
merely nominal, "the true consideration being the articles of the aforesaid Con- 
cordat, which, if executed here by Neale and approved by Rome, must be consid- 
ered full equivalent for the farm " 

99 Du Bourg a Van Quickenborne, New Orleans, January 1 8, 1825 (A). 

100 (D) The size of the farm was overstated m Du Bourg's original convey- 
ance ("three hundred and fifty acres, more or less") It actually measured about 
2126 acres Subsequent additions to the farm as originally conveyed by Du Bourg 
were chiefly as follows (i) May 26, 1827, Lachasse tract of about 25 acres, ad- 
joining the Du Bourg farm on the S W , (2) May 29, 1854, Creely tract of 
144 J4 acres adjoining the Lachasse tract on the S W , (3) August 20, 1868, "St 
Joseph's Woods", 231 acres, running from near the west limits of the Du Bourg 
farm to the Missouri River, (4) October 4, 1871, Marechal tract of about 46 
acres, adjoining Du Bourg farm on N,E. 


for the needs of his diocese, finally showed himself in his true colors as 
an adventurer and impostor. The Bishop's connection with Inglesi, to 
whom, curiously enough, is due some of the credit for setting on foot 
the Association of the Propagation of the Faith, left him in serious 
financial straits "The Bishop," Van Quickenborne remarks in a letter 
of December, 1823, to the superior in Maryland, "writes to Mr. Neil, 
who is constantly after him for money, that he is without a cent." 101 
In St. Louis the Bishop's college and house and some nearby lots were 
sold in the autumn of 1823 by the trustees to pay the debts of the 
cathedral. There was a debt of four thousand, five hundred dollars 
on the brick cathedral which Bishop Du Bourg had built on Second 
Street. This money had been advanced by the trustees, Bernard Pratte 
and the two Chouteaus, Auguste and Pierre, who now demanded their 
money back, going so far as to secure from the state legislature a permit 
to sell as much of the cathedral block as would enable them to recoup 
their losses. Four lots of the block, all fronting on Walnut Street, were 
accordingly sold by the trustees, but brought only $1204. The pur- 
chaser was the pastor of the cathedral, Father Niel, who now deeded 
the lots back to Pratte and the Chouteaus. But the cathedral debt was 
not yet extinguished and Du Bourg, unable to secure financial aid from 
the Catholics of St. Louis, dispatched Niel to France in 1825 to collect 
the needed funds Niel was enabled to forward considerable sums of 
money to relieve the Bishop's embarrassment, but never afterwards 
returned to America. In view of these circumstances, it is not surprising 
that Bishop Du Bourg was unable to lend to the struggling community 
at St. Ferdinand the pecuniary assistance stipulated for in the 
Concordat. 102 

The failure of the Jesuits, on the other hand, to send out mission- 
aries to the remote Indian tribes gave rise to protest on the part of 
Bishop Du Bourg. According to article 5 of the Concordat, Father 
Charles Neale, "Superior of the Society of Jesus in North America," 
had "engaged that at the expiration of two years counting from the 
time of their arrival, four or five at least, missionaries duly qualified 
shall proceed to the remote missions, (i.e.) to the Indian settlements in 
the vicinity of Council Bluffs, and shall there labor towards the attain- 
ment of the great object specified above for the greater glory of God." 
In the summer of 1825 Bishop Du Bourg wrote to Father Van Quicken- 
borne urging upon him the fulfillment of this obligation, now that the 
two years of grace had expired. To the Jesuit superior, it seemed unfair, 
under existing conditions, that he be held to this onerous obligation 

101 Van Quickenborne to Francis Neale, Florissant, December 12, 1823. (B). 
102 Holweck, "Vater Saulnier und Seme Zeit", m Pastoral Btatt (St. Louis), 
April, 1918. 


and he wrote in this sense to the Bishop. It was only by the strictest 
economy and at the price of numerous privations that means of support 
could be found for the community at Florissant. How, then, would it be 
possible to pay the expenses of missionaries among the Indians? "Can it 
then be expected that with these means the Society shall have ordained 
four scholastics, have them sent on the mission or rather have them 
thrown out of the house without resource or means of subsistence ? 
When the Superior agreed to send three or four missionaries to the 
Indians, two years after our arrival at this place, it was on condition 
that the Government should pay the two hundred dollars yearly to 
each as promised and granted at first by the President." 103 

The Concordat, therefore, by sheer force of circumstances remained 
inoperative m many of its provisions. With regard to its subsequent 
status Van Quickenborne observed in 1830 to the General, Father 
Roothaan, that he never heard whether it had been approved or not 
by the Sovereign Pontiff 

A Concordat was made by Bishop Du Bourg with the Superior of the 
American Mission, Rev Father Charles Neale of happy memory, I doubt 
not that your Very Rev Paternity has a copy of this document The Con- 
cordat was accepted by the General, I have never heard that it was accepted 
by the Sovereign Pontiff Bishop Du Bourg, when he was here, told me he 
thought the Propaganda stood in the way. The present Bishop, Msgr 
Rosati, a man eminent for learning, prudence and virtue and highly thought 
of at Rome, as is evident from the issue of his affairs, adheres to the Con- 
cordat and would like religious communities to have their own districts 
where they can labor according to their own Institute in the vineyard of the 
Lord. He offered to obtain for me from the Sovereign Pontiff a confirmation 
of the Concordat. (Be pleased therefore, Very Reverend Father, to intimate 
what you wish me to do m this matter). Bishop Du Bourg observed the 
conditions well enough, the present Bishop observes them perfectly, not so 
ourselves although with the approval of Bishops Du Bourg and Rosati I say 
Bishop Du Bourg observed them well enough He failed in one point, but 
he made amends as quickly as he could. The matter was this. By the terms 
of the Concordat he should have given us at once the title to the farm where 
we are now living, but he had given a mortgage on the farm, and this 
[mortgage], since he had been imposed upon by the pseudo-priest Anglesi 
[Inglesi], he could not redeem until two years later, dunng which interval 
we were m continual danger of being evicted The money which he received 
from the Association of the Faith in France and with which he was under 
obligation to assist us m virtue of the Concordat, he used for redeeming the 

108 Van Quickenborne to Du Bourg, September 4, 1825 Copy (B) The 
annual subsidy of two hundred dollars granted by the government to each of four 
or five missionaries was subsequently applied by it to the support of the Indian 
school a,t Florissant Cf . mjra y Chap V. 


mortgage Meantime, as a matter of sheer necessity, we had to till the 
ground several hours almost every day for a whole year But he made 
abundant compensation for all this by giving us whatever he possessed, so 
that on leaving for France he spent his last 300 dollars for us in making 
perfectly secure the property which he gave us at that time in St Louis and 
on which the college has been built. . . . 

We have not [as Bishop Du Bourg] lived up to [the Concordat] since 
the four missionaries who were to have gone out to the Indians to live among 
them two years after our arrival in Florissant did not go I am hoping that 
your Very Reveiend Paternity will so assist us that we shall find it in our 
power to supply one or other missionary and so do what we have been 
unable to do so far The Bishop was very anxious that some one of Ours 
should go to the Indians But our men were not yet priests at the time, 
besides, they were very young and not used to that exceedingly sharp manner 
of warfare, in fine, we were destitute of almost all necessaries and, in the 
last place, had never received from Superiors any order or encouragement 
to take up this work Your Very Reverend Paternity knows of course that 
Bishop Du Bourg when he was in France and Italy before his consecration 
and afterwards in Belgium made [ms ? ] begging for aid which he received 
and in ample enough measure As a consequence he was extremely anxious 
for us to be in a position to go, but we could not The above mentioned 
reasons (for not going) when they weie set before him, he approved, all 
except the last Whether we fulfill that condition at all depends on Father 
General, for without help from him m personnel, two men at least, we shall 
be able to accomplish only very little 104: 

Nine years after the signing of the Concordat Father Peter Kenney, 
Visitor for the second time of the Jesuit missions in North America, was 
in St. Louis, where the important document was at once placed m his 
hands. From a study of its contents and from inquiries made as to its 
practical working out he was led to conclude that Bishop Du Bourg 
had carried out everything that he promised even at serious inconven- 
ience to himself. This judgment he reported to the Father General, at 
the same time sending him a Latin translation of the Concordat. Father 
Kenney was apparently of the opinion that the covenant was to be 
adhered to even pending its formal approval by the Holy See, which 
was understood by both the contracting parties to be an essential requisite 
for its validity. He noted, not with approval, it would seem, that the 
Jesuits had opened a college in St. Louis, "which is not in the district 
assigned [to them] since it is on the banks of the Mississippi", and for 
the same reason, namely, that it lay outside the territory assigned to the 
Society, which was the Missouri Valley, he ordered the little mission 
temporarily opened on Salt Creek m northeastern Missouri to be de- 

104 Van Quickenborne ad Roothaan, September 9, 1830 (AA). Hughes, of 
cit , Doc., 2* 1028. 


livered up to the Bishop of St Louis 105 While the Visitor was thus 
demonstrating his faith in the working character of the Concordat, at 
least in certain of its provisions, Father Roothaan, the General, was 
expressing his fears that the Society in Missouri, m not taking up resi- 
dent missionary work among the Indians, was falling short of the seri- 
ous obligation assumed by it in the Concordat. "The matter causes me no 
little anxiety," he informed Father Kenney, "since the Society seems to 
be bound in justice to lend its services to the Indians in that quarter." 106 
In the event this consideration, as urged by the Father General, was 
to have its influence on the actual beginning a few years later of resident 
missionary work among the Indians. 

As to the ultimate fate of the Concordat, it does not appear that 
the question of its approbation was ever again submitted to the Propa- 
ganda after the Congregation had examined it in the time of Father 
Fortis The last we hear of it is m connection with an inquiry made by 
Archbishop Kennck of St. Louis m May, 1 848, as to whether the com- 
pact had at any time received the approbation of the Holy See. The 
prelate was led to make this inquiry by the circumstance that the Jesuits, 
so it was alleged, were leaving the Missouri River stations, or most of 
them, unsupplied with missionaries The answer returned on this occa- 
sion by Cardinal Fransom, Prefect of the Propaganda, was that no 
certain evidence of any past ratification of the Concordat by the Con- 
gregation could be brought to light, but that, should circumstances 
seem to require it, some new adjustment of the situation that had given 
rise to the complaint might be attempted. There the matter rested nor 
did Archbishop Kennck concern himself further with the Concordat, 
which thereupon lapsed into final obscurity, no subsequent attempt, as 
far as known, being made by either of the interested parties to bring it 
forward as a practical issue. 107 

That the grandiose pact, conceived as it was, should have proved 
abortive as regarded certain of its provisions was inevitable. An arrange- 
ment that guaranteed to a single religious order at once the privilege 
and the burden of the exclusive spiritual care of the entire Missouri 
Valley necessarily fell to pieces with the rapid and unexpected growth 
of Catholicism in that vast inland empire, nor could any sanction, how- 

105 Kenney ad Roothaan, February 22, 1832 (AA) 

106 Roothaan ad Kenney, October 23, 1832 (AA) 

107 Mons Kennck de St. Louis a ete formalise parceque nos missions tout le 
long du Missouri a 1'exception de quelques unes restaient sans missionaires II parait 
qu'il est resolu de ne plus respecter le contrat fait par le Pere Ch Neale avec Msgr. 
Du Bourg Que faire?" Elet a Roothaan, St Louis, October 24, 1848 (AA). 
Fransom ad Kennck, July 27, 1848 "Certainly the practice of both parties for the 
last twenty-five years, affords a solid basis for prescription, even though no appro- 
bation were given " Dzierozynski ad Brocard ( ? ), October 18, 1848 (A). 


ever solemn, extended to it by the Holy See, have made the arrange- 
ment a permanent one No amount of good will on the part either of 
the Society of Jesus or the prelates of the St Louis diocese could have 
made the result other than it was Both sides lent themselves with 
earnestness as also with naive miscalculation of the future to a program 
which no hostile influence or unkindly fate but the very development 
itself of western Catholicism promptly rendered impracticable. And yet, 
when all is said, the Concordat of 1823, initiating as it did the work 
of the restored Society of Jesus m mid-America, was an instrument 
of far-reaching results and may be counted among the historic factors 
which have shaped in a significant way the course of the Catholic 
Church m the United States. 



The establishment of an Indian school at Florissant was to be the 
first step in the scheme of missionary enterprise which Bishop Du Bourg 
devised for his Jesuit recruits. "Pending the ordination of our Jesuit 
novices and their going forth as apostles," he wrote from Georgetown 
to his brother Louis, March 17, 1823, two days before the signing of 
the Concordat, "I propose to receive into the Seminary a half dozen 
Indian children from different tribes, so as to begin to familiarize my 
young missionaries with their manners and languages and in turn to 
prepare the children to become guides, interpreters and helpers to the 
missionaries when the time comes to send the latter forth to the scattered 
tribes." 1 "The Father of our Indian Seminary" is the title which Van 
Quickenborne bestows on the energetic prelate, who after apparently 
conceiving the idea of the institution had also secured for it a measure 
of government support. 2 The school that was thus to owe its origin 
to the eager zeal of the Bishop of Louisiana appears to have been the 
second of its kind conducted under Catholic auspices in the United 
States. 3 

Various attempts to open Catholic Indian schools m the Mississippi 
country in the early decades of the nineteenth century are on record. 
Father Urban Guillet, superior of the Trappist community settled at 
Florissant in 1809-1810, moved his establishment thence to the neigh- 
borhood of Cahokia m Illinois, where he hoped to find the boys he 
needed for a projected Indian school. Father Donatien Olivier, active 
for more than half a century in the mission stations along the Missis- 
sippi, obtained from the chief of the Kaskaskia, at that time still inhabit- 
ing their old lands m southwestern Illinois, a promise of some Indian 
youths for the Trappist school, but m the event that institution was 

1 Ann Prop (Louvam ed , 1825), 1.465. This chapter appeared originally in 
CHR, 4 452 et seq. 

2 Ann Prof , 4 583. 

8 The earliest known Indian school under Catholic auspices in the United States 
seems to have been the one opened by Father Richard in 1 808 on a site within the 
present city limits of Detroit Cf Sister Mary Rosalita, "The Spring Hill Indian 
School Correspondence," Michigan History Magazine, 14. 94 et sty. 



conducted as a school for white boys with only a few Indian pupils in 
attendance 4 Some years later the Lazansts planned an Indian school 
in connection with their seminary at the Barrens in Perry County, 
Missouri. "The Jesuits have or will soon have a number of Indian 
children in their house," Father Odin wrote from the Barrens in 
August, 1823, "and in a few days our superior is going to meet the 
Indian agent to obtain some from him for our Seminary. We shall 
begin to study their language and instruct them so as to make catechists 
out of them or even priests." 5 It does not appear that the Lazanst 
plan for the education of 'Indian youths was ever realized, at least in 
the way of a regularly organized school. In the summer of 1824, a year 
later than the date of Odin's letter, Father Charles Nermckx, the 
pioneer missionary of Kentucky, died at Ste. Genevieve on his way from 
St Louis to the Loretto convent of Bethlehem situated at the Barrens 
He had just arranged with General Clark in St Louis for the reception 
at the convent of a number of Indian girls, for whose education the 
government had engaged to pay. 6 The unexpected death of the mis- 
sionary frustrated the plan and the Indian girls were not sent A com- 
bination of circumstances made it possible for Father Van Quickenborne, 
carrying out Bishop Du Bourg's plan, to take up with more promise of 
success the experiment of Catholic Indian education in the United States. 

Next to the problem of providing for the material wants of his 
community, the problem of setting on foot the Indian school was the 
one that most engaged Van Quickenborne's attention during his first 
years at St. Ferdinand's. Within ten days of his arrival in the West he 
had submitted a scheme of Indian education to General William Clark, 
associate of Menwether Lewis in their memorable journey to the mouth 
of the Columbia and now superintendent of Indian affairs at St. Louis. 
"I went to visit Governor Clark in St. Louis He gave me very special 
encouragement He approves the plan cordially and will write to Gov- 
ernment to have it on <a larger scale. 7 He gave me directions that will 
prove very useful and thinks that m fall we shall have six Indian 
children. Apparently he is pleased to help us along and is interested 
m the success of our enterprise." 7 

Some two months later Van Quickenborne wrote to Father John 
McElroy of Frederick, Maryland "We have not as yet any Indian 

4 Ann Prop , 1 390,392 American State Papers, Public Lanls y 2' 106. 

5 Ann Prop, I (no 5) 70 

6 Maes, The Life of Rev. Charles Nermckv y p 528 "Mr Nermckx wished to 
settle down near us and start an Indian college " Van Assche a De Nef , Florissant, 
September i, 1825 (A). 

7 Van Quickenborne a Du Bourg, Jour de la fete du Sacre Coeur [1823], 
Archives of tlie Archdiocese of New Orleans. 


children. I have seen several Indian chiefs. They have all promised to 
give their children, but it is an object with which they hardly ever part " 
In the summer of 1823 a deputation of Indians passed through St. Louis 
on their way to Washington where they were to negotiate for the 
formation of a confederacy, under government auspices, of six Indian 
tribes who had planned to exchange their lands east of the Mississippi 
for reservations in the Indian Territory At the head of the deputation 
was Colonel Lewis, a Shawnee chief and leading promoter of the pro- 
posed confederacy. On advice from Clark, Van Quickenborne visited 
Colonel Lewis in St. Louis and laid before him his plans for an Indian 
school. The chief expressed approval of them and promised to send 
three of his grandchildren to Florissant m the following spring Clark 
urged upon Van Quickenborne the opening of the school at as early 
a date as possible. The latter reported all these circumstances to Father 
Charles Neale, requesting him as also Father Benedict Fenwick to call 
upon Lewis when the latter should have arrived in Washington. 8 

A letter from Benedict Fenwick to the Florissant superior, written 
in September, 1823, m the name of the newly appointed superior of 
the Maryland Mission, Francis Neale, deals among other matters with 
the question of the Indian school* 

On the subject of the education of the young Indians of whom you speak, 
the Superior requires that you act with the utmost prudence and circum- 
spection m that affair and that you keep yourself altogether within the 
Concordat. He wishes you to undertake no more than what is specified 
therein and what the Society has engaged itself to perform He has no wish 
to enlarge the sphere of your operations until adequate means be procured 
either from Government favoring such a design or from the quarters of 
which he will give you due notice. . . . 

The Superior would have you cultivate in a particular manner the good 
esteem of the Governor and United States Agents as well civil as military, 
and whenever they speak to you of the education of the Indian youth to 
assure them of your willingness to undertake the same, but at the same time 
to let them know that such a thing will be quite impracticable without the 
aid of Government If it should, however, regularly pay you the stipend 
agreed upon and moreover hold out greater prospects provided you will 
undertake the education of a larger number of young Indians, it rests with 
you to weigh the matter and immediately communicate with the Superior 
and expect his advice on the same. In the meantime let the engagement as 
far as it goes which the Society has entered into be fully and completely 
executed. No one can blame you for not doing what the Society has never 

8 Van Quickenborne to McElroy, Florissant, September 21, 1823 (B). Van 
Quickenborne to Charles Neale, Florissant, September 23, 1823. (B). 


engaged to do You have, I presume, a copy of that contract. Let that be 
}our Pole-star 9 

In accordance with a federal regulation the subsidy which the gov- 
ernment had promised to the Indian school at Florissant was not to 
be paid until the school should have been in actual operation Van 
Quickenborne wrote on the subject to Father Francis Neale m Decem- 
ber, 1823 

Regarding the education of the Indians, the Bishop has stirred a great 
sensation in St Louis about this affair and said everywhere that Government 
had allowed $800 as soon as we should have six of them General Clark 
told me that the Bishop had assured him Government had made such allow- 
ance but that, although he was the one who paid out such pensions, he was 
not authorized to pay anything to us. Before I received your Reverence's 
letter I expressed to Gen 01 Gov Clark (he is ordinarily called Gen ) my 
great desire to have Indian youths, made known to him our circumstances 
and offered to take some (under these circumstances) if he thought proper 
to do so and he were sure the Government would pay for them. He gave 
me to understand that it was absolutely necessary that we should begin with 
some before he could recommend our establishment, and that government 
would help us, if they thought proper, only after we had begun. This was 
a condition sine qua non He (has) the week before last encouraged me to 
take next Spring two Indian boys of about nine years, which he had offered 
me five or six weeks ago. To take any without being paid for it is a thing 
which forbids itself and except we have a number of Fatheis that are pre- 
pared to go out with them after having given them their education the care 
of such boys would not be productive of much, perhaps of any good This 
is the opinion of General Clark Before I can do more I must hear what 
has been done at Washington by Col. Lewis 10 

Nothing having come of Colonel Lewis's projected Indian confed- 
eracy. Van Quickenborne petitioned his supenor in a letter dated New 
Year's day, 1824, for authority to open the Indian school m the follow- 
ing spring, adding that Clark was urging that a start be made n At 
length, in May, 1824, the father was summoned to St. Louis by the 

9 Benedict Fen wick to Van Quickenborne, September 10, 1823 (A). The Con- 
cordat makes no mention of an Indian school 

10 Van Quickenborne to Francis Neale, Florissant, December 12, 1823. (B). 
Bishop Du Bourg appears to have stipulated with the government for the education 
of only six boys He wrote July 2, 1824, to Van Quickenborne "You do not tell 
me whether General Clark has paid the $800 at last. I entered into contract for 
only six Indian boys I am going to write to the Secretary of War to have you paid 
as soon as you shall have the six " No reference to such contract has been met with 
in the correspondence between the Bishop and Secretary Calhoun 

11 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, Florissant, January I, 1824. (B). Father 
Francis Dzierozynski was at this period supenor of the Jesuit Mission of Maryland 


General, who informed him that some Iowa Indians had just made an 
offer of boys and that he might have them if he wished Van Quicken- 
borne agreed to take them and word to this effect being sent at once to the 
Iowa chiefs, who were then visiting the city, they agreed to send four 
or six boys of their tribe to Florissant Meanwhile two Sauk lads, one 
eight and the other six years of age, had been received by the superior 
and with these as the first students the Indian Seminary was formally 
opened on May u, 1824, the feast day of the Jesuit saint, Francis de 

The next pupils to be entered at the Seminary were the Iowa youths 
who had been promised to Van Quickenborne at St. Louis Under the 
protection of a party of chiefs they started, five in number, from their 
homes on the left bank of the Missouri River in what is now the 
northwest extremity of Missouri The Sauk for some unknown reason 
dispatched a deputation from their tribe to dissuade the Iowa chiefs 
from sending their sons to the new institution. But the Iowa chiefs 
were not to be turned from their purpose. After some seventy miles 
of travel, two of the boys became ill and had to return to the Iowa 
camp while the three others with their parents continued on the way. 
On June n, 1824, the candidates, in company with their parents, an 
interpreter, and Gabriel Vasquez, United States agent for the Iowa, 
appeared at the Seminary The Indian youths did not submit without 
a protest to what must have seemed to them, accustomed as they were 
to the freedom of the forest, as nothing short of imprisonment. As 
their parents prepared to depart, they began to wail in true Indian 
fashion, whereupon one of the scholastics took up a flute and started 
to play. The music had the effect of quieting the lads and making them 
resigned, as far as outward indications went, to their new environment. 
But Vasquez, the agent, warned Van Quickenborne that a sharp eye 
would have to be kept on the boys, as flight was an easy trick for them 
Accordingly, Mr. Smedts, the prefect, rose at intervals during the 
first night of the Iowa's stay at the Seminary to see that his young 
charges were all within bounds, while another scholastic was also 
assigned to sentry duty But somehow or other the watchers were out- 
witted. About one o'clock in the morning the Iowa made a clever 
escape. Their flight was soon detected and immediately a party of 
two were on the track of the fugitives These were nimble runners, for 
they were five miles from the Seminary when their pursuers came up 
to them. They made no resistance to capture and returned, apparently 
quite content, though determined no doubt to repeat the adventure 
when opportunity offered, as Van Quickenborne intimates in his account 


of the incident, which he concludes with the comment, "et ent saef)e 
talis repetttio" ("this thing will happen many a time again") 12 

Bishop Rosati, the newly consecrated Coadjutor of New Orleans, 
took a keen interest m the plans and prospects of the Jesuit group 
settled at Florissant. Only a few weeks after the opening of the Indian 
school he appealed to the Jesuit General to send help from abroad and 
so enable Father Van Quickenborne to carry on the institution success- 
fully and even open a college in St. Louis Touching the Indian school 
he wrote 

Providence wishes no doubt to make use of the Society of Jesus to revive 
the well-nigh vanished work of the Indian Missions m those very parts of 
North Amenca where the sons of St Ignatius began them with the zeal 
which has always been the characteristic of his worthy sons and with results 
corresponding to their apostolic labors Their memory is still m benediction m 
various places of this very extensive diocese not only among civilized folk 
who profess the Catholic religion, but also among the natives who lead a 
wandering life m the woods A land already bedewed with the sweat of the 
evangelical laborers of the Society, over which your Very Reverend Paternity 
presides, might well appear to have some manner of right to call for a fresh 
supply of laborers By a truly admirable disposition of Providence, which 
seems to look upon this land with eyes of mercy, we find a little colony of 
Jesuits established for the past year here in this diocese m the parish of St 
Ferdinand I have had the pleasure of coming to know them while making 
the rounds of that locality after my conseciation Despite the small number 
of subjects, the two priests who a're there work with admirable ardor and 
the Lord pours out upon them his heavenly benedictions. The principal object 
of this establishment would be the conversion of the Induns The Govern- 
ment of the United States offeis us its protection and even pecuniary assist- 
ance General Clark, with whom I have spoken a good deal on this subject, 
has promised to cooperate m the designs of Government to the full extent of 
his power, a thing which will help us consideiably, since he is the General 
Agent of the United States m anything which concerns the Indians and 
exercises a great influence over them He would like to establish a house of 
education at St Ferdinand so as to enter therein six youths from each of the 
very numerous tnbes who inhabit these parts The missionanes at the same 
time that they teach the Indians to read and write would have the advantage 
of learning their language and would subsequently go out with them to 
evangelize the region to which they belong Father Van Q[uickenboine] 
has already begun to receive a few pupils and expects more; but what 
paralyzes in some way this very important work is the scarcity of subjects 
[i e. Jesuits] 13 

12 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, June 12, 1824. (B). 

13 Rosati a Portia, June 24, 1824 (AA) In Italian Cf also Rosati's Diary, 
May 21, 1824 "Celebrated Mass in St Ferdinand's Church After taking break- 
fast with Mr Mullanphy we returned to St Louis before noon Then I visited 



The Indian school, which Father Van Quickenborne was to desig- 
nate in his reports to Washington as St. Regis Seminary, was now a 
reality, so that he felt justified m applying to the Indian Office for the 
financial aid it had pledged through Bishop Du Bourg. On November 
21, 1824, he forwarded two reports on the condition of the school, 
one addressed to General Clark and the other to Secretary of War 
Calhoun. He wrote to Clark. 

The Seminary went into actual operation the eleventh of May ultimo 
with two boys of the Sac [Sauk] nation On the eleventh of June three more 
were received of the Hyaway [Iowa] nation, thus since that time I have 
had five boys. The buildings are commodious and can contain from forty 
to sixty students. They are nearly complete and fifty-four ft long by seven- 
teen wide one way and thirty-four feet by seventeen feet the other way, 
three stones high, the lowest of stone, the two others of logs, brick chimneys 
and galleries all around. They have cost $1500, and when completed will 
cost $2000. 

Van Quickenborne's report to Secretary Calhoun said m part 

The Seminary is built on a spot of land remarkable for its healthiness 
and which on account of its being somewhat distant from the Indian tribes 
and its being sufficiently removed from town is possessed of many advan- 
tages . . I have pei sons belonging to the Seminary well calculated to 
teach the boys the mechanical arts such as are suitable for their condition, 
as a carpentei, a blacksmith, etc., whose names I do not place on the report, 
because the boys are not thought fit as yet to begin to learn a trade I have 
the comfort to be able to give my entire approbation to their correct com- 
portment and from the sentiments they utter I have strong hopes that they 
will become virtuous and industrious citizens warmly attached to the Gov- 
ernment that has over them such beneficent designs, I have been prepared 
these six months past to receive a considerable number more than what I 
have at present. The number of boys would have amounted to a few more 
had not some on account of sickness returned to their village, after having 
done a part of the way. 

The report concludes by asking for the payment of the eight hun- 
dred dollars promised to Bishop Du Bourg "in your letter of March 
21, 1822 [1823]." 14 

General Clark, gave him the letters I had received from Bishop Du Bourg and 
talked over many things with him regarding the mission among the natives Having 
been received by him with the utmost courtesy, I am hoping the missionaries will 
not be without favor and aid from this man, whose influence with the natives is 
very great " Kenrick Seminary Archives 

14 (H). At Van Quickenborne's request, General Clark certified to the accuracy 
of the superior's report, which according to usage he transmitted to Washington. 


Early in January, 1825, Van Quickenborne was still waiting for a 
response to his petition "It is now two months," he informed Bishop 
Rosatij "since I wrote to the Secretary of War and since General Clark 
sent him the certificate asked for I am waiting every day for a favorable 
answer and I think it better to defer writing to Mr Richard for a few 
days more. I fear there is something against us in St. Louis." 15 

Meanwhile a bureau of Indian Affairs had been established in 
Washington in 1824 as an appanage of the War Department with 
Thomas Lorraine McKenney as its first commissioner McKenney's 
administration of Indian affairs was able and honest. He had long been 
interested in the native tribes of the country and it was chiefly due to 
agitation of his, as he declares in his Memoirs, that Congress was led 
to make an annual appropriation of ten thousand dollars for the civil- 
ization of the Indians. This was the origin of the so-called Civilization 
Fund, out of which the appropriation for St. Regis Seminary was to 
come. McKenney held the post of Indian commissioner until he was 
removed in 1830 by President Jackson, being the first government 
official, so it has been said, to fall a victim to the spoils-system inaugu- 
rated by that strenuous executive 16 It was from McKenney that 
Father Van Quickenborne received an answer in January, 1825, to the 
letter he had addressed to Calhoun in November of the preceding year 

Your letter to the Secretary of War of the 2ist Nov. last in the form 
of a report of the condition of the Indian Seminary at Florissant has been 
received. I am directed by the Secretary to state that the number of children 
in the Seminary being only five, he cannot advance the sum of $800 as 
promised in his letter to Bishop Du Bourg of 2ist March, 1822 [1823], 
that letter having stipulated to pay $800 on the following conditions ist 
after the establishment should be m operation and 2nd with a suitable number 
of Indian youths The Secretary however directs that the most that has 
ever been allowed for the purpose be allowed to you, which is one hundred 
dollars for each youth, which will be increased at that rate 'till you shall 
have eight, when the increase of appropriation will have reached its limits, 
A remittance of five hundred dollars has been made to Genl. Clark to be 
paid to you m conformity with the above decision, and all future remittances, 
on account of the allowance made to the school of which you have charge, 

"This is to certify that the Catholic Missionary Society at Florissant m the State of 
Missouri have established a school at that place for the education of Indian chil- 
dren and deserve the cooperation of the Government The progress of the boys has 
been very rapid and satisfactory Wm Clark " 

16 Van Quickenborne a Rosati, Florissant, January, 1825 (C) The Mr. Rich- 
ard mentioned m Van Quickenborne's letter was the Rev Gabriel Richard of 
Detroit, at this period delegate to Congress from the Territory of Michigan. Cf. 
supra, note 3. 

16 McKenney, Memoirs Official and Personal (New York, 1846), p. 35 


will be made through Gen. Clark, unless you should wish them to be made 
differently. 17 

The government had thus discharged in all essential respects the 
obligations it had assumed towards the Indian school in the negotiations 
between Bishop Du Bourg and Secretary of War Calhoun The fears 
entertained both by Van Quickenborne and Du Bourg that the govern- 
ment was not disposed to stand by its engagement were apparently 
groundless, being due to a misconception of the terms under which 
the federal authorities were then lending financial support to Indian 
schools The apprehensive temperament of the Bishop comes to the 
surface in a letter addressed by him to Van Quickenborne in January, 
1825, while the expected appropriation seemed to be hanging m the 

I am astonished at what you told me of the Government's breach of 
promise. Why do you not protest at Washington through one of your 
Fathers? I wrote lately to Col Benton, Senator of Missouri, requesting him 
to see the Secretary of War and remind him of his obligations It would be 
well for you to forward to Father Dzierozynski copies of the Secretary's 
letters which I sent you, with the request that he show them to the Secre- 
tary, together with the certificate from the Governor of your state to the 
effect that you have complied with the conditions of the contract I cannot 
believe that the Government is aware of the violation of its pledge. The 
matter should be attended to as soon as possible If, which is an impossi- 
bility, the Government should turn a deaf ear to your demands, the whole 
affair should be brought to the notice of the public. Such a breach of faith 
would compromise any government. I will myself write to Mr. Calhoun in 
the plainest terms. 18 

Bishop Du Bourg's letter to Calhoun ran as follows 

Nve [Nouvelle] Orleans, Feb y 12 th 1825 
To the Hon. ble 
John Calhoun 

Secretary of War. 
Honoured Sir, 

Permit me to trouble you on the subject of the Indian Seminary, which 
I was induced to establish at Florissant near the junction of the Missouri 
and Mississippi nvers, by the written engagement on the part of Government 
to contribute for its maintenance the sum of eight hundred Dollars per 
annum, beginning from the day of its installation. 

On the face of this sacred obligation, I encouraged eight or ten valuable 
missionaries to depart from the Distnct of Columbia for the banks of Mis- 

17 McKenney to Van Quickenborne, Washington, January 28, 1835. (A). 

18 Du Bourg a Van Quickenborne, January 1 8, 1825 (A). 


soun, and to encounter, besides the expence incident on such an immense 
journey, the incredible fatigue of wading, knee and often waist deep thro' 
an inundated country for the space of three hundred miles, without any help 
from Government I settled them upon a plantation which cost me four 
thousand Dollars, the title of which I surrendered to them for the benefit 
of the establishment, independently of the stock and farm utensils with which 
I abundantly furnished it They erected a building which cost them 7 or 
800$ and would require 500$ more to complete it They began receiving 
Indian boys, whose docility promises to them the most satisfactoiy success, 
and yet after better than two years since their arrival in Missouri, they have 
not yet been able to obtain a single Dollar from Government, tho' letters to 
that effect were said to have been sent to the Supermtendant of Indian 
Affairs, in consequence of which failure the Missionaries are exposed to the 
danger of leaving the Establishment in a state of bankruptcy, and myself of 
forfeiting, to no purpose, a valuable property which may be sold to pay this 

I have no doubt, Sir, that the fault of this bieach of contract lies some- 
where else than in yourself I thought it therefore highly proper and con- 
versant to your own idea of justice to call on you for redress Even m the 
supposition that this reclamation should reach your hand only after your 
promotion to a higher office, I trust that the Hon. ble J. Calhoun, Vice 
Presid. of the U S. will consider it a duty to redeem a solemn pledge given, 
with the sanction of the President, by the Hon. ble J. Calhoun, Secietary of 
War. And in that firm expectation I beg leave to renew the assurance of the 
high esteem and of the respectful regard with which 

I have the honor to be 
Hon. d Sir, 

Your most humble servant, 
L, Wm DuBourg, R.C 
Bishop of New Orleans 19 
I solicit the favor of an 
answer directed to New Orleans, 
my actual residence. 

19 Du Bourg to Calhoun, February 12, 1825 (H) As appears from McKen- 
ney's letter of January 28, 1825, the first remittance for Van Quickenborne's 
Indian school had already been forwarded before Du Bourg's letter of protest wat. 
written. The appeal made by the Bishop to Senator Ben ton of Missouri elicited 
the following note addressed by the senator to the secretary of war "Mr. Benton 
is requested by the Right Reverend William Du Bourg, Bishop of Louisiana, to call 
the attention of the Sec. of War to the Indian Seminary at Florissant, Mo He 
says that, upon an application to the Hon Sec the sum of $800 zn annum, out of 
the sum originally appropriated for the civilization of the Indians, was promised 
to that object, that the $800 first accruing (which was for the last year) had not 
been paid at the date of his letter, (9th December last) and Mr. Benton begs leave 
to call the attention of the Secretary to the circumstance. Senate Chamber, Feb 
23 [?] 1825." (H). 


The five hundred dollars which Calhoun had directed to be paid 
to Van Quickenborne at St. Louis was the first money appropriated by 
the United States government to a Catholic Indian school west of the 
Mississippi. As the number of boys at St. Regis had increased beyond 
eight , the appropriation in its favor for the years 1825 and 1826 was 
eight hundred dollars. In 1827, however, the appropriation was cut 
down to four hundred dollars, extra demands on the funds of the 
Indian Office, so it was explained, making a larger allowance impossible, 
and it remained at this figure until 1830 when the payments ceased 
altogether. 20 The total amount of money paid by the government to 
the Florissant school during its brief career of six or seven years was 
approximately thirty-one hundred dollars. The cost of maintenance 
had been a little in excess of ten thousand dollars. 21 

Now that Father Van Quickenborne had obtained from government 
the proposed subsidy for his educational venture, he was anxious to 
obtain aid from the same quarter towards defraying the expenses of 
the school-house he had erected on the seminary grounds. The cost of 
this building, as noted in his report to General Clark of November 21, 
1824, would be about fifteen hundred or two thousand dollars when 
completed. Van Quickenborne's application for aid in this connection 
was refused on the grounds set forth in a communication from Col. 

Your letter of the 23 ult. to the Secretary of War, requesting to have 
the plan of the buildings at Florissant approved and payment to be made 
according to the regulations of the 2Oth Feb. 1820 have been received. I 
have the honor by direction of the Secretary to state, in reply, that the 
allowance from the Civilization fund, towards the erection of buildings for 
Indian schools is considered applicable (as stated m the regulations of the 
30th Sept 1819, of which those of the 20th Feb 1820 are additional) to 
such establishments only as may be affixed within the limits of those Indian 
nations that border our settlements. The buildings at Florissant not being 

20 "You tell me that the number of your Indian boys is increasing If this be so, 
the government allowance ought to increase in proportion up to $800. Do not fail 
to protest in this matter." Du Bourg a Van Quickenborne, May 25, 1825 (A). 
M'Kenney to Van Quickenborne, Washington, February 9, 1827. (A) "Expenses 
of school for past year [1828], $1600. Government pays only $400." Ann. Prof , 

4 584- 

21 Van Quickenborne account book (A) A statement made by Van Quicken- 
borne to the government under date of August 20, 1829, places the total disburse- 
ments for both boys' and girls' schools at $9,990 28 This figure includes expenses 
for tutoring, boarding, lodging of pupils and for "the visits and presents to the 
Indians and travelling to their villages." 


within such limits, but upon your own land, are not provided for m the 
regulations aforesaid. 22 

It was clear to Father Van Quickenborne that his efforts on behalf 
of the Indian boys would be largely wasted unless on growing up they 
could secure Catholic wives with whom to persevere in the practice of 
religion. A school for girls was therefore an essential factor in his scheme 
of Indian education and in his efforts to establish one he took counsel 
with Mother Duchesne. That truly apostolic woman, it is unnecessary 
to say, was watching with the liveliest interest the educational experi- 
ment to which her spiritual director had put his hand She took a 
maternal interest in the Indian boys, washing their linen and lending 
her personal services to keep them neat and tidy. The idea of a school 
for Indian girls to be conducted by her community appealed to her 
strongly and m June, 1824, a month after the opening of the boys' 
school, she wrote to the Mother General, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, 
asking permission to open a similar institution for girls "They live on 
very little," she explained to her, "and we shall beg clothes for them 
We must neglect nothing for so interesting a work, so long desired 
and the special object we had in coming here." 23 Five weeks later she 
wrote again "I sometimes think that God has ruined our first establish- 
ment and our first work, the boarding-school, m order to promote the 
more interesting work of the instruction of the poor savages." 24 

In the beginning of April, 1825, the ambition of Mother Duchesne 
was finally realized, "One evening whilst we were saying Office," 
Mother Mathevon recorded m her journal, "the Father Rector arrived 
and asked to see the Superior. To Madame Duchesne's great surprise 
he produced two little frightened Indian girls who were hiding them- 
selves under his cloak He had sent a cart to fetch them and he left 
them with us. So now we have begun our class for the natives." 2r> 

On all things m and about the convent of the Sacred Heart at 
Florissant poverty was writ large. It had now to carry an additional 

22 McKenney to Van Quickenborne, Washington, April 28, 1825 (A) Van 
Quickenborne's letter of March 23, 1825, to Secretary of War Barbour requesting 
that the government defray the cost of the school building he had erected at Flo- 
rissant describes the latter m terms identical with those contained m his letter of 
Nov. 21, 1824, to General Clark "I submitted to your Excellency the following 
plan or rather a statement of buildings begun and nearly completed for the Indian 
School at this place I beg your kind indulgence for not having pursued the proper 
course and at the proper time I hope that my untimely acquaintance with the mode 
of observing the regulations at your Department will not be an obstacle to my being 
put on an equal footing with other establishments of the same kind " 

23 Baunard, Life of Mother Duchesne^ p 264 

24 Idem, p 264 

25 Idem, p 264. 


burden of expense in the Indian school, a burden heavier than Mother 
Duchesne had anticipated. The cost of maintenance for the first year 
amounted to five hundred and ninety dollars, doubtless a heavy dram 
on the slender resources of the nuns "For the expenses incurred by 
them/' Van Quickenborne wrote m December, 1825, "I have offered 
and given them i. Corn for the whole year, 2 Potatoes for the whole 
year, 3 Firewood for the whole year I doubt whether they will receive 
these things gratis They help us much in making and repairing clothes 
for us and the Indians " 26 There was no reason, however, why aid 
should not be lent to the female Indian school by the government, 
which was subsidizing similar institutions in charge of non-Catholic 
denominations and was a real if indirect beneficiary in the devoted 
labors of the nuns Accordingly, Van Quickenborne, with the approval 
of General Clark, though the latter expressed a desire that his name 
be not mentioned in connection with the affair, determined to apply 
to Washington for an appropriation for the girls' school. His petition 
to Secretary of War Barbour, dispatched on June 15, 1825, under 
the auspices of St Francis Regis, as he informed his superior, repre- 
sented that an annual subsidy of eight hundred dollars would enable 
the directors of the female Indian school at Florissant to continue the 
praiseworthy enterprise on which they had embarked 

Encouraged by the paternal exertions of our most benevolent Govern- 
ment for the amelioration of the degraded state of the Aborigines, I take the 
liberty to leport to your department as follows 

In our village there is a religious Society of nuns, members of the 
Catholic Church and known by the name of the Ladies of the Sacred Heart 
They dnect m this place a very respectable Academy, where many young 
ladies of the first families of St Louis and the adjacent parts of the country 
are educated Notwithstanding their being engaged in this laudable work, as 
they have many members, they would most willingly devote some of them 
to the exclusive education of Indian girls, as being very congenial with the 
spmt of their Society They have made already some steps towards this godly 
undertaking, having at present six Indian girls who have been placed under 
their care with great satisfaction of the parents Application has been made 
by several more to have their children also admitted, but their means not 

20 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, December 19, 1825 (B). "As the school 
for girls has been opened only this year, the beginning of it has necessanly been 
attended with greater expenses than will be required next year for an equal number 
Both boys and girls behave with great propriety. The strict morality which they 
observe m their conduct, their submission and obedience to the orders of their 
Superiors, their entire satisfaction and contentedness m their new state of life and 
finally their gratitude to their benefactors give the strongest hope that they will be 
useful citizens and be sincerely attached to the government that has m their regard 
such benevolent views " Van Quickenborne to Barbour, 1825 (H) 


being adequate to further expenses, they find it impossible to comply with 
the desire of all, a desire however which the Government likes to foster I 
therefore m their name most respectfully beg the assistance of Government 
in behalf of the Indians to be placed there The above mentioned ladies would 
wish to take from 40 to 60 pupils, a numbei which I have purposed to take 
in at our Seminary, and which will soon, I hope, be completed Their own 
funds and those coming to them from pious associations and a yearly allow- 
ance of Government of $800 would enable them to prosecute the work 
The advantages arising from their establishment would, in my opinion, be 
very important to the views of Government The education of Indian boys 
and girls m the same establishment is apt to be subject to very heavy incon- 
veniences as regards morality This contemplated establishment is about two 
miles from our Seminary The Indians of the Mississippi have more or less a 
confused knowledge of what has been done for them by religious Societies of 
the Catholic Church, and as far as I have been able to observe, when they 
hear of a convent, their difficulty m parting with their children m great 
measure disappears Nearly all of the metifs [mixed-bloods] have Canadian 
Frenchmen and of course Catholics for their parents, who will always prefer 
to place their children under the care of the members of their own Church. 
And should Congress adopt the plan suggested by the late President of the 
United States and adhered to by the present President in his inaugural 
speech, the two establishments m this place would be able m a very short time 
to give a solid beginning to the adopted plan, by placing with the consent of 
Parents, those of the boys who would wish to marry girls educated m the 
female establishment, m a given district with some assistance for husbandry, 
m which case I would offer to send two of our Rev gentlemen to reside 
among them These giving to their already known flock filled with confi- 
dence m their fathers the aid which the Catholic religion affords would be 
well calculated to maintain m them the spirit which they would have im- 
bibed in the Seminaries, a spirit of the fear of the Lord, a spirit of regularity, 
industry and subordination, a sincere attachment from principle and Re- 
ligion to our most beneficent Government m then behalf, and m case several 
distncts should be formed, from each of them a small and selected number 
might be sent to the establishment here, to be instructed more fully and 
fitted out for the important stations they might be called by the nation to 
fill. 27 

Father Van Quickenborne's petition to Secretary of War Barbour 
was denied on the ground of lack of funds to cover the appropriation 

27 Van Quickenborne to Barbour, June 15, 1825 (H). "I have the honor to 
receive your letter of 15th. ult m which you represent the kind dispositions of the 
religious Society of nuns, members of the Catholic Church, near Florissant, towards 
the aborigines of our country, and their willingness to receive and educate from 
forty to sixty Indian children provided a yearly allowance would be made them 
by the Government of $800 Those dispositions of kindness towards these destitute 
children of the forest are appreciated, and I regret that the exacting demands upon 
the fund for civilization will not authorize at the present any further extension of 
it, not doubting but the means when applied to this charitable object of the Society, 


asked for. As a consequence, Mother Duchesne's Indian school was 
destined to run its brief career without government support of any kind 
It closed its doors at about the same time that the neighboring school 
for boys came to an end. 

As the only Catholic Indian school in the United States at the 
period, St. Regis Seminary and its pioneer labors were brought by Van 
Quickenborne to the attention of the Catholic public of France m the 
pages of the Annales de la Propagation de la Fot. Mention of the 
school also occurs in an appeal made in 1826 to the generosity of 
European Catholics by Father Gabriel Richard of Detroit* 

At Mackmac last summer the Presbyterians put up a school-house about 
a hundred feet m length. In this school they have received a large number 
of Indian children, whom they feed, clothe and instruct gratis. The Catholics 
of America are m general poor and unable to build churches for their own 
needs . . It is then to the generosity of the Catholics of Europe that we 
must look for effective aid The ministers of error are quick to profit by 
the ample means placed at their disposal by their rich merchants who sub- 
scribe liberally for all their institutions Moreover, as they were on the ground 
before us, they make off annually with nearly all of the ten thousand dollars 
which the President of the United States is authorized to spend on the 
civilization of the Indians. There is so far only one Catholic school for the 
instruction of Indian children, that namely at Florissant, near St. Louis, 
this establishment receives a subsidy from the Government and this owing to 
the clever tact and engaging address of the Bishop of New Orleans, Mgr 
Du Bourg . . The Jesuits of France, England and Italy should come 
here and take possession of their old missions, the ruins of which cry out for 
them on all sides. . . . What would I not do to make my voice heard over 
all Europe' I would speak to it of the poor Indian m these terms "Parvuli 
fetierunt $anem et non erat qui ]rangeret eis" 2S 


Letters of the period afford occasional glimpses of what went on 
within the humble enclosure of the Indian school at Florissant. A year 
and a half after the institution had opened its doors Van Quickenborne, 
always an optimist over its affairs, wrote with obvious satisfaction to his 
superior in Maryland: 

Plays are preparing for the Indian boys. These go on to the astonish- 
ment of us all. In the beginning we had to watch them like wild hares, they 
were weeping the whole day. The Ladies of the Sacred Heart have a forty 

would produce lasting benefit to the children, whose good fortune it might be to 
partake of the instruction of its benevolent members " Harbour to Van Quicken- 
borne, July ii, 1825 (H). 
28 Ann. Prop, 3=333- 


days devotion to St. John Francis Regis I have made a vow, if they [the 
boys] changed, to do what I could to have that Saint for the patron of our 
mission The boys aie entirely changed They observe order like a well- 
regulated college boy or like a novice Mr Smedts, their prefect, undeistands 
them We have had an interpreter for fourteen days They make regularly 
their visits to the Blessed Sacrament and behave to the great edification of 
us all They work two hours before dinner and two after dinner with the 
greatest satisfaction They all wept when the hoe was put into their hands 
for the first time. 29 

This report of Van Quickenborne to his superior ends with the 
request that he be allowed to make choice of St John Francis Regis as 
patron of the Missouri Mission There is no record of any action having 
been taken on the request 

Van Quickenborne's satisfaction with his Indian pupils was further 
increased by an incident that took place during the first year of the 
school's career. "We received a visit here from chiefs and twelve war- 
riors of the Hyaway [Iowa] nation. . . . The boys appeared at St. 
Louis before these visitors while they had their talk with General Clark 
They were well dressed and behaved extremely well. On entering the 
city one of them drove the cart in which the others were, which amazed 
the Indian fathers exceedingly. They were highly satisfied and General 
Clark, I have been told, said after the talk was over, to the Agent 
'I wish all the Indian boys were with Catholics J " 30 

To spend the greater part of the day with a batch of Indian boys 
and at the same time contrive to snatch a few moments of time for the 
theological studies preparatory to ordination was not a comfortable 
manner of existence Mr. Smedts, the first of the scholastics to be 
appointed prefect of the Indian boys, had been succeeded in that capacity 
bv Mr Verreydt, who thus laid open to Father Dzierozynski the diffi- 
culty of his position 

The boys rise in the morning during meditation and I am with them 
till half-past eight o'clock when they go to the field and return a quarter 
before twelve, at which time I am with them till two o'clock (after dinner), 
when they go again to the field till a quarter before five At this time I used 
to teach some to spell till half-past six, but since eight boys have left us so 
that we have at present but seven Indian boys and three French boys, our 
Reverend Superior has allowed me to employ this time in the study of moral 
divinity, the study of which I resumed since last Easter, On Sundays and 
Holydays I have to be with them the whole day, when it rams I have to be 
with them. They must be watched at night. I often sleep in the day in order 
to watch at night 31 

29 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, Florissant, April 29, 1825 (B) 

30 Same to same, Florissant, January 10, 1825. (B) 
81 Verreydt to Dzierozynski, Florissant, 1826. (A) 


It had constantly to be impressed upon the boys that manual labor 
was not a thing to be ashamed of On an occasion when a band of some 
thirty Indians paid a visit to Florissant, one of their number was amazed 
to see his son, a pupil of the Seminary, carrying a bucket of water. All 
the pride of race rose within him and he asked the lad indignantly, 
"are you a slave?" To overcome the prejudice of the youthful Indians 
against work it became necessary for the directors of the school to set 
an example in their own persons of manual labor With this end in 
view, as for other reasons also, one of the community, either a lay- 
brother or a scholastic, worked longside the boys in the fields. At 
intervals, as in the potato and corn-planting season, the entire scholastic 
body joined them in their work. Moreover, the scholastics spent nearly 
the whole of the vacation period in labor of various kinds, as felling 
trees or making cider. "All this is necessary," Mr. Van Assche observes 
to a correspondent in Europe, "to encourage the Indians." Efforts were 
made to teach the youths to sing and even to play on musical instru- 
ments, not without some success. But on the whole their voices were 
found to lack singing quality though an Indian boy would occasionally 
please the worshippers at St Ferdinand's Church with a voice of unusual 
sweetness. 32 

To provide adequate and proper clothing for the children was some- 
times a serious problem. Van Assche wrote in 1825 to Pierre De Nef of 

To increase the number of Indians and Jesuits as well, it is highly im- 
portant for us to try to improve our farm We have written to our parents 
and friends for clothing, as without such assistance, it is quite impossible for 
us to receive many pupils To feed sixteen or twenty is not such a great 
matter, but to clothe them is out of the question, for shoes, hats and Imen 
are very expensive Those who are coming to join us will perform a great 
act of chanty by bringing along with them as large a supply as possible of 
linen and other kinds of cloth, no matter of what color, provided of course 
it is worth the cost of transportation. If they bring pantaloons, cloaks, or 
other articles of wear ready made, they must know that the youngest of the 
twelve is only five and the oldest fourteen years old Most of the clothes on 
them now were brought by us from Europe 33 

J2 Van Assche a De Nef, Florissant, May, 1827 (A) "F Vanquickenborn[e]'s 
[motive] in keeping these boys, though paid for, was no doubt to stimulate some 
of us to learn the language of the few Indian boys that were with us We learned 
a few Indian words and that was all Nobody had any inclination to go to the 
Indian country except F Vanquickenbornfe] who had no other thought than one 
day to establish himself among the Indians Napoleon like, he wanted to conquer 
all, white and red people" Verreydt, Memoirs (A). 

83 Van Assche a De Nef, Florissant, 1825. (A). The generosity of benefactors 
helped to solve later on the problem of clothing the Indian boys. "For their sup- 


What occurred on a certain occasion when a group of Indian parents 
visited their sons at the Seminary is told by the coadjutor-brother. Peter 
De Meyer 

We opened a school for Indian and half Indian boys They were taught 
to wear clothes, to eat with knives and forks, to say their prayers in English 
and to work in the fields I worked several summers with them in the 
corn-fields and chopped fire-wood with them during winter m the woods 
Once their fathers and their attendants, for they were chiefs of different 
tribes, came to see them on their way to Washington to transact business 
with the President of the United States for their nation. On their arrival 
towards night we made great preparations to receive them well We killed a 
large ox by candle-light in the orchard and were going to lay a table with 
knives, forks etc But their interpreter, who was a Frenchman and knew 
their language well, said, "not so, give them a large pot and meat and let 
them cook for themselves in the woods " So a large kettle was taken out of 
the wash-house and a quarter of an ox was given to them and then they 
retired into the woods about thirty yards from the house . They made 

a big fire, cooked and ate their bellyful. They also took some snaps which 
they earned with them in long canes. Then they began to dance around the 
fire, singing their war-songs. These lasted till a very late hour Some of 
Ours feared they were about to do some mischief, but it was all fun. They 
at last lay down and slept till morning. When they got up, they began to 
eat again, for their kettle was not yet empty. Shortly after, they started 
off." 34 

For a while Van Quickenborne's Indian school seemed destined to 
a prolonged and useful career. From the Indian Office came approval 
and appreciation of its work. 35 Also, there was commendation from 
Father Dzierozynski on the occasion of his visit to Florissant in the 
summer of 1827- 

The Indian school has one teacher, a lay-brother. Thanks be to God, it 
makes excellent progress alike in morals, letters and manual labor m the 
fields, where every day, both morning and afternoon, the boys spend some 

port (40 Indian boys) we have and will receive from the chanty of the faithful 
whatever is necessary Last week we received from Europe 95 shirts, 135 handker- 
chiefs, 2 soutanes, I cloak, 2 surtouts, 35 pair boots and a number of stockings and 
flannel jackets, all m good order " Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, Florissant, 
September I, 1828 (B) 

34 Reminiscences of Peter De Meyer, S J , 1867. (A) 

35 "Your letter to the Secretary of War of the 4th ultimo inclosing your report 
of the state of the Indian school under your supermtendency is received. I am 
directed to acknowledge it, and to convey to you the Secretary's approval, and the 
expression of his hopes that your benevolent labors for the enlightening of a por- 
tion of our Indians may be more and more prosperous " McKenney to Van Quicken- 
borne, November 3, 1826 (A) 


hours with their instructors. The boys number only thirteen, but the house 
cannot accommodate any more There is a similar school for Indian girls in 
the village of St Ferdinand, a famous old Spanish settlement This is in 
charge of the Ladies of the Sacred Heart The pupils number as many as in 
the boys' school, their education being looked to by the Ladies, their support 
by the Rector of the Florissant establishment, who by dint of alms and the 
produce of his farm, endeavois to the best of his ability to supply them with 
food and clothing, however poor these may be I was highly pleased to hear 
the Indian girls recite their catechism. Who made you? Who redeemed you ? 
Who sanctified you? To all such questions they icplied with childlike sim- 
plicity. A more elaborate exhibition was given by Ours at Florissant. St 
Ignatius day was celebrated with a solemn high mass and panegync in St 
Ferdinand's church, some of the Indian boys singing with Ours in the choir 
After dinner in a sort of rustic amphitheatre festooned with flowers and 
greenery the Indian boys underwent an examination in their studies, the best 
of them being awarded prizes After the specimen, one of their number of 
more than usual capacity and diligence came to my room very quietly so as 
not to be seen by the others and asked me to take him along with me to 
Georgetown College. "If I remain here, I shall go to the bad " I encouraged 
him with the assurance that grace to preserve his innocence would not fail 
him m Missouri He took me at my word and went away satisfied 36 


In the event St. Regis Seminary failed to realize its early promise. 
Father Van Quickenborne's management of the school had not com- 
mended itself at all times to his associates in the educational venture, 
but there was never reason to doubt that he was guided at any time by 
other motive than zeal for the best interests of the institution. "It is 
clear to me now," wrote in later years one who had not seen eye to eye 
with him in the affairs of the school, "that he always acted as he thought 
best under the circumstances and always had before his eyes Ad major em 
Dei glonam"^ As to Van Quickenborne's conduct of the school, it 
was alleged that he was unnecessarily severe in his treatment of the 
boys, that he worked them too strenuously in the fields, that, while 
reluctant to believe evil of them, he was unwarrantably Spartanlike 
in the punishment he inflicted on convicted offenders. Young De Smet, 
as he looked on m amazement at the whipping administered by his 
superior to an Osage pupil guilty of a serious breach of the moral law, 
felt in his heart, though the event did not justify his fears, that the 
managers of the school had compromised themselves with the Osage 
tribe for a generation to come Yet the fact is that a genuine tenderness 
of heart underlay whatever seventy showed itsejf in the outward 

86 Htstoria Mtssioms Missoumanae (Ms ) . (A) . 

87 Elet ad Dzierozynski, Florissant, May 20, 1835 (B). 


manner of the sturdy Fleming who against heavy odds was going 
doggedly ahead with his experiment of an Indian school With the 
superior in Maryland he pleaded thus on an occasion when, contrary 
to his own wishes in the matter, he was required to expel some of their 
number from the institution 

The boys expelled by me are not discouraged. All are highly praised I 
say only what was said to me One made his first Communion under Father 
De Theux and goes to the Sacraments every month and was first m cate- 
chism. Maximus, son of the loway chief, is in St Charles and is spoken of 
highly by Father Smedts The third is in Portage and works hard and 
behaves himself The other two are so small that they can scarcely do any- 
thing When I met one of them scarcely six yeais old and saw him whom 
I had received as a son now being treated as a little slave by his new master, 
my feelings got the better of me and I almost fainted. I think that your 
Reverence with a knowledge of the circumstances would not have given the 
orders you did and I ask you that we may be permitted to act more gently 
with these little creatures whom we have only yesterday rescued from the 
wild beasts of the forest However, I am prepared to obey the orders of 
Reverend Father Superior. 38 

The last report forwarded to Washington by Van Quickenborne 
was for the year ending September 30, 1830. At the end of that year 
there were only two pupils in attendance. A letter written by him at 
this period to Secretary of War Eaton discloses his intention to dis- 
continue the school 

With a view of locating an establishment nigher to the Indian villages, 
I have ceased to admit pupils in the Indian school of this place I am con- 
vinced that the youth of the aborigines stand in need of as much perhaps 
more assistance after they have left the school than when they actually enjoy 
its advantages I hope to be able perhaps m the course of another year to 
afford that assistance according to the plan I have had the honor to lay 
before youi excellence and of which I have obtained the verbal approbation 
of our venerable President [Jackson] a few months ago I conducted home 
4 sons of the principal chief of the Osages, who had received their education 
at our establishment. Whilst in their village I proposed the subject of the 
plan in full council with the approbation of the Agent and the previous leave 
of the President They have unanimously expressed a most ardent wish to 
see it put into execution. I will deem it a great favor if the allowance 
hitherto given to the school of this place could be applied to the new estab- 
lishment as soon as it will go into operation. 39 

38 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynsh, Florissant, 1830 ( ? ). (B). 

39 Van Quickenborne to Eaton, Florissant, December 30, 1830 (H). Van 
Quickenborne's plans for resident missionary work among the Indians are out- 
lined in the following chapter 







1 s 


















mber, 1826 




4 i 


ft HI Kt "ll 








Asus et 

^ asc***- t*> 

^f ?n*SLts d&*. , 

> - f 

/ J**J** 



* r 



Letter of Van Quickenborne to Secretary of War Cass, July 10, 1832. Files oi 
the Indian Office., Department of the Interior, Washington, D C 


Two years were now to pass without further school-report from 
St. Regis Seminary or even application for the usual annual allowance 
Finally, in May, 1832, Elbert Herring, who had succeeded McKenney 
as commissioner of Indian affairs, wrote to Van Quickenborne inquiring 
"Is the department to infer from your having ceased to draw from 
the sum allowed or to transmit the required report, that you no longer 
claim any aid from the Government? 33 The superior's reply, dated 
July 10, brought a second letter from Herring 

The Department cannot with any propriety continue to bestow a part 
of the Public Funds entrusted to it in aid of an Institution which the Prin- 
cipal himself represents to have had hardly an existence for more than two 
years It cannot therefore permit you to expect, as you request, that youi 
allowance for the past year and the current year will be paid If you should 
succeed in reestablishing the school, your communication of the fact will 
meet with prompt attention and you will receive such assistance as the circum- 
stances seem to demand. 40 

With this communication from the commissioner of Indian affairs 
business relations between St Regis Seminary and the Indian Office 
came to an end The last Indian boy had left June 30, 1831, and with 
him the institution passed into history. 41 That it was a successful Indian 

40 Herring to Van Quickenborne, Washington, July 24, 1832 (A) 

41 j The establishment was at too great a distance from the Indian villages 
2 The punishments inflicted on some of the Indian boys were too severe 3 The 
hours of school were too few and those of work too many 4 Their dress was 
often ragged and uncomfortable" (Contemporary ms memorandum). (B). The 
boys m attendance were not for the most part of pure Indian stock Their number, 
which during the entire life of the school did not go beyond thirty m all, in- 
cluded ten full-blooded Indians of five different tribes, Osage chiefly, and twenty 
metifs or half-breeds Almost one-half of the half-breeds were illegitimate All 
the full-blooded Indians, with the exception of two who were dismissed for 
breaches of morality, were taken away by their parents Van Quickenborne was dis- 
appointed both in the number and quality of Indian boys furnished him by the 
Indian agents and with a view largely to obtain suitable pupils for the school made 
personal visits to the Osage m their villages along the Neosho River An account of 
his conducting two little Indian "princes" from the Osage country to Florissant 
in 1828 is in the Ann Prof , 4 578 "We have all the sons of the Osage chiefs of 
competent age to be placed m school " Report of St Regis Seminary for year end- 
ing September 30, 1829 (H) "Four Indian boys have been lately received Two 
of these are boys about eight years old, sons of the chief of the Osage Twelve of 
this kind, as Father De Theux has often observed, not mixed with those miserable 
metifs and properly taken care of, would be calculated to do something one day 
towards the conversion of the Indians " Elet ad Dzierozynsh, December, 
1828. (B) 

Fathers Elet, De Smet and Verhaegen were decidedly of the opinion that the 
school had been a failure as far as the conversion of the Indians was concerned. 
Thus Verhaegen, writing to the superior, Dzierozynski, August 20, 1830 "I sup- 


school no one conversant with the facts will venture to maintain. Too 
remote a location from the Indian villages, apparently certain mistakes 
in the management of the school, lack of proper financial support, but 
especially the poor quality of the students supplied to it were among 
the reasons for the failure of the institution to realize its purpose in 
any serious way. Yet one may not conclude that the labors of the men 
who through seven years maintained the school under depressing handi- 
caps had gone for nothing. The author of the Annual Letters of the 
Missouri Mission for 1830 notes that many of the former pupils of 
the Seminary were living among the white and continued to receive 
the sacraments monthly. About one of them in particular there was 
something of personal sanctity and the holy end he made as a mere 
boy was the admiration of all who witnessed it. 42 On occasion, too, Jesuit 
missionaries of later years were to find a foothold for some missionary 
enterprise in the sympathy and good will of one-time pupils of the 
Florissant Indian school Thus, when Fathers De Smet and Verreydt 
ascended the Missouri in 1838 to open a Potawatomi mission at Council 
Bluffs, they were welcomed at a stopping-place by Francis, the Iowa 
chief, whom De Smet had instructed at St. Regis Seminary and who 
would gladly have kept his former teacher to minister to his people 43 
As to Father Van Quickenborne, he did not live to see the day when 

pose your Rev, knows that our Indian College has definitely ceased to be I am 
surprised, not that it ended, but that it continued as long as it did Didn't I pre- 
dict that it would avail nothing towards the conversion of the Indians?" Cf also 
the statement of the Father Visitor "Schola Indumorum, miseie ordtnata, duobus 
abhinc anms miser e pewit" Kenney ad Roothaan, February 22, 1832 (AA). 

42 Litterae Annuae Missioms Missouranae, 1823-1834. (A). The names of five 
Indian children attending the schools, four boys and one girl, are entered in the 
Baptismal Register of St Ferdinand's church, Florissant Mother Duchesne was 
godmother to Elizabeth due Lisette Banelle, baptized April 2, 1825. The child's 
parents, Banelle and Shannoquoi, were Menommee (Folles Avomes) Indians Stan- 
islaus, aged 10, and Peter, aged 13 (the latter a son of a principal chief of the 
Iowa known as Le Grand Marcheur), were baptized June 5, 1825. Joseph and 
Louis, Sauk, were baptized October 3, 1824, by Bishop Rosati, John Mullanphy 
and his daughter, Mrs Chambers, being sponsors. Other Indian pupils were pos- 
sibly baptized by Van Quickenborne at the Seminary This would account for their 
names not appearing in the church register 

43 Hiram Martin Chittenden and Albert Talbot Richardson, Life, Lettets and 
Travels of Father Piet re-Jean De Smet y $J t , 1801-1872 (New York, 1905), 
I 152 Cited subsequently as CR, De Smet. Two sons of Pahuska or White Hair, 
head Osage chief, then names Cleremont (or Clairmont) and Gretomonse, the 
latter head chief of the tribe in 1852, were pupils at St Regis where they were 
baptized. So, according to the Osage Mission Register (Archives of Passionist 
Monastery, St. Paul, Kansas) However, the names of Cleremont and Gretomonse 
do not occur in the Baptismal Register of St Ferdinand's Church, Florissant, Mo , 
where some of the Indian pupils were baptized. Cf note 42. 


his fellow-workers in the West were enabled to set on foot the two 
highly successful Indian schools which they maintained through many 
years on behalf of the Potawatomi and Osage tribes , but he had helped 
to blaze the way in the field of Catholic Indian education in the United 
States and the praise of the pioneer and pathfinder is his 




The school at Florissant by no means limited the range of Father 
Van Quickenborne's interest in the native tribes of the West. He busied 
himself at intervals with plans for a systematic Chnstiamzation of the 
American red men by methods similar to those which had been em- 
ployed by the Jesuits of Paraguay and he undertook a number of trips 
to the Indians of the Missouri border, chiefly the Osage. It is the pur- 
pose of this chapter to sketch these activities of his on behalf of the 
Indians up to the period when he was able to realize his plans in a 
fashion by the establishment of the Kickapoo Mission 

Ways and means of ameliorating the condition of the red men were 
a frequent topic of discussion between Father Van Quickenborne and 
General William Clark, superintendent of Indian affairs in the West. 
To his superior in the East Van Quickenborne wrote July 26, 1824 

I visited the Governor [William Clark] before I saw yr. [your] rev's 
[Reverence's] letter. He told me yr. rev. had visited him together with Mr. 
Richard [Father Gabriel Richard]. If what is said here be true, and I think 
it is, he is not to be Superintendent Gen Clark will continue m his office, but 
Mr. McNair, together with Gen Claik are appointed Commissioners to act 
with all the power the president can give, with the Indians in all that countiy 
that is beyond the limits of this State and the Arkansas Territory The natives 
of Ohio, Kentucky etc. intend to make a settlement on the Missouri after 
the manner of civilized nations (something like in Paraguay). They may by 
and by form a state and send their representatives and Senators to Congtess 
The President is inclined to adopt this plan and Gen Clark will endeavor to 
execute it He has communicated to me all his sentiments on the subject and 
has recommended us to these natives to take us for their missionaries and 
fathers I think that the time is not far off when great things will be per- 
formed in behalf of the civilization and spiritual welfare of our truly miser- 
able Indians Now is the moment, believe me, Rev Father, to furnish our 
Seminary with duly qualified fathers If they are not here when the estab- 
lishments will commence, Protestants will trust [thrust] themselves in. Give 
what you can and write to R[ight] R[ev ] F[ather] Genferal] to send us 



a supply of 12 fathers I will pay all the expenses of their journey He has 
only to indicate to me the name of the person to whom I shall send the 
money and to begin I will put 200O francs m the hands of Madame Barat, 
Supenor of the Dames du S Coeur at Pans, to be employed foi the fatheis 
that are to come to this mission Pray R. father, do not fail m using all yi 
exertions in obtaining this favour from R[ight] R[everend] F[ather] 
Gen 1 

Clark's own plan for the systematic civilizing of the Indian tribes 
was outlined by Van Quickenborne in a letter to the Maryland superior. 
A tract of land, presumably west of the Missouri state-line m the present 
Kansas (but according to Van Quickenborne only two hundred miles 
distant from Florissant) was to be set aside for the Indian tribes The 
tract was to be divided into districts and m each district four or five 
tribes were to be allowed to settle down A school house with resident 
missionary was to be provided for each district, while outside the 
limits of the entire region there was to be a sort of central Indian 
school to which about six boys and as many girls from each district 
were to be sent The St Regis Seminary, with a department for girls 
to be conducted by the Ladies of the Sacred Heart, was considered as 
likely to answer all the requirements of this central school. "But," 
Clark observed to Van Quickenborne, "if I put a Methodist m one 
district, a Presbyterian m another, a Quaker in a third and a Catholic 
in a fourth, you will be constantly at war, and instead of giving them 
peace will only create confusion in the minds of the Indians I should 
like to give the districts to one Society and I think that yours is more 
competent for the work than any of the others." Van Quickenborne 
replied to Clark that he thought his order had men sufficient for all 
the districts. To the eagerly apostolic superior the superintendent's 
scheme appeared indeed to be a dispensation of Providence for renewing 
the missionary glories of the older line of Jesuits "Who does not see 
here," he writes with enthusiasm to Dzierozynski, "the beginning of 
another Paraguay ? It would indeed be a miracle if the other missionaries 
were displaced and ours substituted in their stead. But this is the age 
of miracles. Oh ' if our Very Rev. Fr. General were to send us a Xavier, 
a Lallemant, a John Francis [Regis] and you, Father, four or five well- 
formed brothers. Sed gmd ego mtserl" 2 

Some weeks later Clark returned to the subject of Catholic mission- 
aries He informed Van Quickenborne that the Catholics were not 

1 (B) In the opinion of one of his superiors Father Van Quickenborne was 
more successful in initiating plans than m carrying them out "[Aptus] ad ex- 
colendas misstones et ad tnchoandas res "fere quascumque non tamen ferfictendas" 
Catalogus secundus (A). 

2 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, Florissant, April 29, 1825. (B). 


asking for missionary posts and that these were now nearly all assigned, 
the Methodists having been particularly insistent in their demands. 3 
Finally, in the fall of 1825 he invited the father to visit the Kansa 
Indians, promising to pay for the boys the latter should obtain from 
that tribe. The land formerly held by the Kansa Indians within the 
limits of Missouri had been ceded to the United States government in 
1825. One township was reserved to be sold for twenty thousand dollars 
and this sum was to constitute an education fund to be applied by the 
President to the maintenance of a school in the Kansa village. At five 
per cent the capital would yield an annual income of a thousand dollars. 
Clark urged Van Quickenborne to apply for the Kansa school with the 
accompanying appropriation. The treaty, so the General informed him, 
awaited confirmation by the Senate, but, that obtained, immediate appli- 
cation for the new school would be made by some Protestant denomina- 
tion. Van Quickenborne wrote to his superior reporting Clark's offer 
and suggesting that the affair could be negotiated in Washington by 
Father Dzierozynski himself, or else by Father Dubuisson S J. or 
Father Matthews, the pastor of St. Patrick's Church. But nothing came 
of this attempt of the superintendent to engage Jesuit missionaries for 
the Kansa Indians. 4 

In the course of the year 1825 Van Quickenborne, at Clark's solicita- 
tion, drew up and submitted a plan for a general systematic civilization 
of the Indian tribes "The Superintendent of Indian Affairs," the father 
wrote to Bishop Du Bourg, "has had me put in writing my ideas on 
the best way of civilizing the Indians. He previously laid before me 
his own plans as well as his good intentions in our regard It is only two 
days since he broached the subject and I have not found time to perfect 
my plan. I send it to you, however, such as I have been able to make 

3 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, Florissant, June 30, 1825 (B). "Wishing 
to stir me to acteon, he [Clark] deprecated politely the fact that Catholics do not 
sufficiently exert themselves to obtain those places " Van Quickenborne ad Dziero- 
zynski, April 30, 1825 (B) 

4 Van Quickenborne to ( ? ) Dzierozynski, Florissant, December 19, 1825. (B). 
In 1828 Father Joseph Lutz, a diocesan priest of St Louis, with authorization from 
Bishop Rosati and General Clark, resided for three months in the Kansas village 
on the banks of the Kaw River some sixty-five miles above its mouth He was the 
first Catholic priest to attempt resident missionary work m the territory which is 
now the state of Kansas. For a letter of his on this episode cf. Ann Prop , 3 556. 
The SLCHRy 5 183 et seq , has a well-documented sketch of Lutz by F. G. 
Holweck Cf . also Garraghan, Cathohc Beginnings in Kansas Ctty, Missouri (Chi- 
cago, 1919), p 30 Rosati's Diary has this entry, July 23, 1828 "Mr Lutz arrives, 
having been requested by Mr Clark to betake himself without delay to the Kansas 
Indians not only because they eagerly desire to have him but also because a Metho- 
dist pseudominister has offered himself for that mission, the establishment of which 
can be delayed no longer " Kennck Seminary Archives 


it in so short a time, hoping that your Lordship will make whatever 
changes you may deem advisable " 5 The plan was as follows 

1. Our little Indian Seminary should continue to support the present 
number of boys from eight to twelve years of age, while the Ladies of the 
Sacred Heart m our neighborhood should bring up about as many girls of 
the same tribe. They should be taken young, from eight to twelve, to 
habituate them more easily to the customs and industry of civil life and im- 
press more deeply on their hearts the principles of religion 

2. After five or six years' education, it would be good that each youth 
should choose a wife among the pupils of the Sacred Heart before returning 
to his tribe. 

3 Within two or three years two missionaries should go to reside m 
that nation to gam their confidence and esteem, and gradually persuade a 
number to settle together on a tract of land to be set apart by government 
Agricultural implements and other necessary tools for the new establishment 
to be furnished. 

4. Soon as this new town was formed, some of the couples formed m 
our establishments should be sent there with one of the said missionaries, who 
should be immediately replaced, so that two should always be left with the 
body of the tribe, till it was gradually absorbed in the civilized colony. 

5. Our missionaries should then pass to another tribe and proceed suc- 
cessively with each m the same manner as the first 

6 As the number of missionaries and our resources increased, the civil- 
ization of two or more tribes might be undertaken at once The expense of 
carrying out this plan might be estimated thus 

The support of 16 to 24 children m the two establishments $1,900 
Three Missionaries 600 

Total $2,500. 

Ingenious and promising though Van Quickenborne's plan appeared 
to be, it was never carried into execution. General Clark promised to 
lay it before Secretary of War Calhoun on the occasion of a visit he was 
to pay to Washington but failed to do so, alleging m explanation that 
the secretary, who was soon to relinquish his office, was unwilling to 
discuss measures the execution of which would devolve upon his suc- 
cessor. 7 From this time on, the plan recurs repeatedly m Van Quicken- 
borne's correspondence as m this letter of June 29, 1825, to his General- 

A matter of the highest importance is about to be taken in hand by our 
government A region will be designated near the Missoun River where 

6 Ann Prop, 2 396. 

6 J G. Shea, History of the Cathohc Missions among the Indian Tribes of the 
United States (New York, 1854), p 406 The original document is m the files of 
the Indian Office, Washington, D C 

7 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, January 10, 1825 (B). 


such of the Indians as agree to it will be brought together to live under laws 
made foi them by the government, practice farming and live after the 
manner of civilized nations This region will be divided into districts and 
each family will be given a portion of land to be cultivated. In every distuct 
there will be missionaries or a school of some kind All these missionaries live 
on government money The superintendent of Indian affairs [William 
Clark] told me that he wished the missionaries to be all of the same icligion 
and that he prefened us to all others, but it is necessary that we offer our 
services to the Government. In any event we shall have one district, which 
we can organize in the following manner As soon as any of our youths are 
ready to marry girls who have been educated heie, they will be settled m 
that distnct, where a farm will be given them by the Government, also 
farming implements and stock Two of Ours will go along to live and work 
with them and these Indians will be joined by otheis fiom the tribes still 
roaming in the woods It is by all means necessary that some such plan be 
tried For why educate youths in our Seminary if after two or three years 
they must return to their tribesmen, who are still sunk in barbarism? And 
how can they otherwise practice the religion they have been taught while 
with us ? Or how, in fine, shall the barbarous tnbes be won over unless by 
seeing that such are the effects of Christian education This we have to do 01 
else give up altogether our work for the Indians The Society has always 
had at heart the conversion of the Indians Then, too, how your Very Rev 
Paternity spurred me on to that work when I was still at White Marsh 
with the novices, of whom you said, the words are your Paternity's own "I 
hope those young lads, after being educated in this fashion, will become m 
tuin the teacheis of great numbers of Indians " 7<l 

Four years later, in the spring of 1829, Father Van Quickenborne 
called on President Jackson in Washington and laid before him sub- 
stantially the same plan for the civilization of the Indians as that 
outlined above. The President gave his verbal approval. The plan is 
sketched in a letter which Van Quickenborne addressed to Secretary of 
War Eaton in October, 1829 

In the latter part of last Spring I had the honor of proposing to our 
venerable President, General Jackson, the plan for the civilization of the 
Indians, which I now take the liberty of laying befoie your excellency. 
Should Government approve of it, I would buy in this state six or seven 
thousand acres of land The Indian boys and girls educated in our institu- 
tion, after being married would go thither to settle upon a tract of 25 acres, 
which I would give to each of them in fee simple, with some resti ictions, 
however All of them could make application as foreigners do for citizenship 
I would be inclined to receive into our Seminary only such youths as declare 
through their parents, their willingness and desire to become citizens of the 
United States, and of living according to the laws of the countiy. Upon 

7 * Van Quickenborne ad Fortis, June 29, 1824 (AA) 


making such declaration such grown Indians as would be willing to be 
married according to our laws and begin immediately a farm would also be 
received. The new settlers would adopt the English language Two reverend 
gentlemen of our Society would reside with them, be their pastor and offi- 
ciate in the church to be built If any assistance should be given by Govern- 
ment, it would be most gratefully received The President has verbally 
approved the plan 8 

The government's decision in regard to Van Qmckenborne's plan 
was communicated to him by Commissioner of Indian Affairs 

Your views in relation to the Indians and especially the Indian children 
educated at your school, are considered highly commendable, and it is very 
gratifying to find that you are disposed to engage so earnestly in the cause 
of Indian improvement Your plan, as far as it goes, is considered good, but 
as the subject will be taken up by the Executive and a general plan foi the 
civilization and improvement of the Indians submitted to Congress at the 
next session, it is not deemed advisable, in the meantime, to extend the aid 
of the Government to any partial plan for the same object * 

Though Van Quickenborne could not, in view of the policy thus 
announced from Washington, rely upon any financial assistance from 
that quarter in the prosecution of his plan, he did not by any means 
give up the hope of seeing it realized, especially as the Father General 
now gave it his formal approval Father Roothaan addressed him 
November 21, 1829 

I very gladly agree to your beginning the education of the Indians 
according to the plan you described and to this end I shall send some alms 
at my disposal, I hope a thousand dollars. Only let nothing be done incon- 
siderately and hastily, but use such foresight as will assure you a well- 
grounded hope of finishing and perpetuating the work. I think you should 
be particularly at pains to keep out of the settlement of Indian converts 
persons who would feign conversion and eventually wreck the whole affair 
It behooves your Reverence to ascertain and follow as far as possible the 
methods employed of old by our Fathers in Paraguay, for these have been 
tried and found most successful. 10 

8 Van Qmckenborne to Eaton, Florissant, October 4, 1829 (H) 
9 M'Kenney to Van Quickenborne, Washington, October 27, 1829 (A). Presi- 
dent Jackson in his first message to Congress (1829) proposed the removal of the 
Indians to lands west of the Mississippi In May, 1830, Congress passed an act 
authorizing the necessary exchanges and purchases of lands from the indigenous 
tribes west of the Mississippi Schoolcraft, Histoty of the Indian Tribes of the 
Umted States, 6 430 

10 PfX, 25 354. A detailed exposition of Van Quickenborne's program of cul- 
tural and religious work among the Indians is contained in a letter addressed by 



The story of the Osage sums up the fate that has overtaken the 
one-time Indian occupants of the territory that is now the United 
States. 11 Once a powerful and influential nation, they had been gradu- 
ally pushed backward by warring tribes until one finds them occupying 
lands m the western part of what is now Missouri. In 1808, by the 
terms of a treaty against which they later protested as fraudulent, they 
ceded to the United States government forty-eight million acres of 
land, which included all their holdings in what is now the state of 
Missouri with the exception of a strip of territory included within 
the western boundary of the state and a line running from Fort Clark, 
thirty-five miles below the mouth of the Kansas River, due south to 
the Arkansas River. Nor was this last fragment of their former vast 
possessions to remain long in their hands. In 1825 General Clark nego- 
tiated with the Great and Little Osage a treaty which extinguished 
their title to the remnant of their Missouri lands and sent them south- 

him to Father Rozaven, March 10, 1829 Published in the Ann Prop , it was obvi- 
ously meant to stimulate the generosity of European Catholics m behalf of his 
favorite project Referring to his ideas on the civilization of the Indians, Van 
Quickenborne wrote on a later occasion (about 1832) "It is this plan that was 
proposed to the President of the United States m a conversation and verbally 
approved by him, and he at the same time assured me that the Indians could become 
citizens He promised his support to the plan and gave me leave to propose it m his 
name to the Indians. I have done it m two full councils in two different villages 
and it was unanimously pronounced to be the thing they wanted, and great anxiety 
was exhibited to see it commenced immediately" WL, 25 354. 

11 Osage is a corruption by the French traders of Wazhaxte, the tribe's name 
m their own language The Osage are of Siouan stock and have been classed in the 
same group with the Omaha, Ponca, Kansa and Quapaw, with whom they are 
supposed to have originally constituted one body See Frederick Webb Hodge, 
Handbook of American Indians (Bureau of American Ethnology, Washington, 
1912), 2 156 Lieut Zebulon M Pike, who visited the Osage in 1806, found 
them separated into three bands, the Grand Osage, the Little Osage and those of 
the Arkansas "The Arkansaw schism was effected by Mr Pierre Chouteau, ten or 
twelve years ago as a revenge on Mr Manuel De Sezie [Liza or Lisa], who had 
obtained from the Spanish government the exclusive trade of all the Osage nation, 
by way of the Osage river, after it had been in the hands of Mr Chouteau for 
nearly twenty years The latter, having the trade of the Arkansaw, thereby nearly 
rendered abortive the exclusive privilege of his rival " Elliot Coues (ed ) , Lieu- 
tenant 7*ebulon M Pike's Journal of Travels, p. 529 Pike found the Grand Osage 
occupying as their principal village a site on the Little Osage just below the mouth 
of the Marmiton Six miles above on the opposite or west side of the Little Osage, 
the Marmiton coming in between, on the site of the present Ballstown, was the 
village of the Little Osage Indians Both villages were within the limits of what is 
now Vernon County, Missouri. 


west, where they found new homes on the banks o the Neosho and 
other tributaries of the Arkansas. 12 

The Osage were distinguished among the other tribes for their 
splendid physical appearance. Washington Irving in his Tour on the 
Prmnes records the impression made upon him by a group of Osage 
warriors whom he met on the banks of the Neosho in the fall of 1832 

Near by there was a group of Osages stately fellows, stern and simple 
in garb and aspect. They wore no ornaments, their dress consisted merely 
of blankets, leggings and moccasins Their heads were bare, their hair was 
cropped close, except a bristling ridge on the top, like the crest of a helmet, 
with a long scalp-lock hanging behind They had fine Roman countenances 
and broad, deep chests, and, as they generally wore their blankets wrapped 
around their loins, so as to leave the bust and arms bare, they looked like so 
many bronze figures. The Osages are the finest looking Indians I have ever 
seen in the West. They have not yielded sufficiently as yet to the influence 
of civilization to lay by their simple Indian garb, or to lose the habits of the 
hunter and the warrior, and their poverty prevents them indulging m such 
luxury of apparel 13 

The Osage were the first of the western tribes after the acquisition 
of Louisiana by the United States to apply for Catholic missionaries. 
The tradition of the earlier Jesuit workers in the Mississippi Valley 
persisted far into the nineteenth century. Father Van Quickenborne 
relates that he and his men after their arrival at Florissant met Indians 
who had known these predecessors of theirs in this western field 14 
Father Odin, the future first Bishop of Galveston, tells in a letter of 
1823 of an Indian woman, more than a centenarian in years, who 
remembered being present at services conducted by eighteenth-century 
Jesuits. It may, therefore, have been the recollection of the earlier 
Catholic missionaries which led the Osage to prefer their petition for 
spiritual aid to Bishop Du Bourg. In the very first issue of the Annales 
de la Propagation de la Fot that prelate relates a visit which he received 
in 1820 from seven Osage chiefs. At the head of the deputation was 

12 Best short account of the Osage is in Hodge, Handbook of American Indians, 
sub voce Cf also Kansas Historical Collections 9 26, 27, 245 et seq, Return Ira 
Holcombe, History of Vernon County, Missouri (St Louis, 1887), William O. 
Atkeson, History of Bates County, Missouri (Topeka, 1918), Elliott Cones (ed.), 
Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike's Journal of Travels, Tixier, Voyages aux Prairies Osages, 
Louisiana et Missouri, 1839-1840 (Pans, 1844) , Cortambert, Voyage aux Pays Des 
Osages (1837), Lucien Carr, Missouri (Boston, 1888), pp. 100-106 

is "They [the Osage] are the tallest and best proportioned Indians m America, 
few being less than six feet " Kansas Historical Collections, 9 246 

14 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, July 25, 1823. (B) For French con- 
tacts with the Osage, cf. Grant Foreman, "Our Indian Ambassadors to Europe," 
Missouri Historical Society Collections, 5. 109-128 (1928) 


the orator, Sans-Nerf. Proud in the possession of a medal and a crucifix 
which the Bishop presented to each of them, the chiefs departed, after 
having obtained from their host a promise to visit their villages in the 
following fall 15 

Not finding it possible to carry out his engagement to visit the 
Osage in person, Bishop Du Bourg, who in the meantime had changed 
his residence from St. Louis to New Orleans, deputed Father Charles 
De La Croix, the parish-priest of Florissant, to discharge the mission 
in his stead Mounted on horseback, this devoted clergyman had met 
Mother Duchesne and her sisters on the crest of the Charbonniere 
bluff on their arrival from St. Charles in 1819 and had conducted them 
thence to their temporary lodgings on the Bishop's Farm, four years 
later he had welcomed Van Quickenborne and his party to St Ferdi- 
nand's, subsequently delivering his parish to the Jesuits to retire to 
another field of labor. Father De La Croix's first visit to the Osage 
took place in May, i822. 16 At that time the tribe was still occupying 

15 Ann Prof , I 438, 482 

16 For De La Croix's Osage visits cf G J Garraghan, S J , St F& dmand de 
Florissant the Stoty of an Ancient Pansh (Chicago, 1923), pp 171-183 Con- 
temporary notices of these visits appeared in Ann Prop, I 450, 484 The date 
1821 in Father Michaud's account of De La Croix's first visit (1*484) is an error 
for 1822 These visits took place, the first in May, the second in August of the 
same year, 1822, as the missionary's letters to Father Rosati and his baptismal rec- 
ords clearly indicate (De La Croix a Rosati, June 18, 1822, November 4, 1822 
C ) De La Croix's baptisms were transcribed from his ms memoranda into a 
large folio volume that afterwards served as the first baptismal and marriage register 
of the Catholic Osage Mission on the Neosho River The transcript was made about 
1839, apparently by Father Herman Aelen (Allen), Jesuit missionary resident at 
the Catholic Potawatomi Mission of Sugar Creek This Osage baptismal register is 
now in the archives of the Passiomst Monastery, St Paul, Kansas It bears the title, 
Libei Eaptismahs necnon Matmmomahs Natioms Osagiae, and will be referred to 
subsequently as the Osage Register 

Father De La Croix's Osage baptisms, nearly all of French half-breeds, are 
dated May 5, 1822 (15), May 7 (3), May 12 (2) first visit and August II 
(12), August 1 6 (i) second visit The total number of baptisms was thirty- 
three. The first name in the list of the baptized is that of Antome Chouteau, born 
in 1817 "Le 5 Mai, fai baptise Antoine Chouteau, ne en i8ij Le pan am 
Ligueste P Chouteau (Signe) Chs* de la Croix " It has been asserted, errone- 
ously, as will appear, that these baptisms of May 5, 1822, took place on the site 
of St Paul, Neosho Co, Kansas. Thus, L Wallace Duncan (publisher), Htstoty 
of Neosho County, Kansas, 1902 "On May 5, 1822, Father De La Croix baptized 
Antoine Chouteau (born 1811 [1817]) at St Paul, Kansas This is the first 
known baptism withm the limits of the County [Neosho] and probably the first 
within the limits of the country now occupied by the state." For the names of the 
children baptized by De La Croix m the Osage country, cf infra, Chap XXVII, 
note I 

De La Croix's own letters indicate clearly that on the occasion of his first visit 


its lands along the Osage River m Missouri, its chief village being near 
the present town of Papmville in Bates County 17 De La Croix was 

to the Osage he did not go beyond the Chouteau trading-post or the principal vil- 
lage of the tribe, both of which were located eabt of the Missouri state-line "But 
as they [the other Osage chiefs] were three days' journey from Mr Liguebte 
Chouteau's, I was unable to go and see them" De La Croix a Rosati, June 18, 
1822 Ligueste P Chouteau (m the Osage Regutet, Paul L Chouteau) was 
United States sub-agent for the Osage and also Indian trader, apparently m the 
employ of the American Fur Company His trading-post was on the left bank of 
the Obage about two miles below its junction with the Marais des Cygnes (U S. 
surveyor's map of Prairie Township, Bates County, Missouri, in Atkeson's History 
of Bates County, Missouri) See, however, the statement m the Journal (Atkinson, 
of cit ) of the Harmony missionaries that they came to the Chouteau establish- 
ment on their way up the Marais des Cygnes after passing the Little Osage 
According to De La Croix's own statement (De La Croix a De Smet, June 25, 
1855) his baptisms of May, 1822, were performed at the Chouteau post and there- 
fore within the limits of Missouri No evidence is available that they took place on 
the site of St Paul, Kansas, or anywhere along the Neosho Antome Chouteau's 
baptism by Father De La Croix, May 5, 1822, is rather the earliest administration 
of the sacrament on record for western Missouri, beyond Cote-sans-dessem in Calla- 
way County, where baptisms were performed by De La Croix m 1821 (Cf Bap- 
tismal Register , St Ferdinand's Church, Florissant, Mo ) 

As to Father De La Croix's baptisms of August, 1822, on occasion of his second 
visit to the Osage, no evidence is at hand to determine definitely the place where 
they were administered This time he visited "all the Osage villages," spending ten 
days in making the circuit, and even, according to one account, probably an exag- 
geration, extending his journey three hundred miles beyond the Osage country into 
the lands of other Indian tribes (Ann Piop y I 450, 484) "This time I have 
seen the whole nation" (De La Croix a Rosati, November 4, 1822) A careful 
study of the entries in the Osage Register seems to indicate that De La Croix's 
eleven baptisms of August 12 were performed at or not far from the same place 
where he performed those of the preceding May Paul Ligueste Chouteau and 
Pierre Melicour Papm figure as sponsors in both series of baptisms The record of 
De La Croix's baptisms m the Osage Register is introduced by the statement that 
he visited the Osage while they were still living m the state of Missouri (invisit 
Nationem Osagiam etianmum in Btatu Mtssoutiano degentem) 

At all events, it does not seem likely that the baptisms of August 16, 1822, 
took place among the Osage of the Neosho Father Van Quickenborne states dis- 
tinctly that his Miss of St Louis's day, August 25, 1827, was the first ever cele- 
brated among the Osage of the Neosho (Infra, 3) The inference would 
seem to be warranted that De La Croix had never visited that part of the Indian 
territory or at least had never performed there any solemn rites of the Church, as 
those of public baptism In any case, Van Quickenborne's seventeen baptisms of 
August 27, September 2, 1827, administered "a Niosho (ftuuius in Terntono 
Indico) chez Mt Ligueste Chouteau" are the earliest actually recorded for the 
territory which has since become the state of Kansas. 

17 Papmville, named for Pierre Melicour Papm, pioneer Indian trader, is 
seventy-seven and a half miles south in a straight line from old Fort Osage, now 
Sibley, Mo , and two miles above the Marais des Cygnes, where it enters the 
Osage Harmony Mission, established by the Presbyterians in 1821, was on the left 


received with enthusiasm. Years after the event he wrote to Father 
De Smet from Ghent in Belgium, where he spent his last days, describ- 
ing this first recorded visit in the nineteenth century of a Catholic 
priest to a trans-Mississippi Indian tribe 

The opening of the mission among the Osages m 1822 m the name of 
Mgr. Du Bourg and on behalf of the Jesuit Fathers was an event which has 
always made me rejoice m the Lord In the second tup I surely expected to 
leave my bones m that country. I am always interested in news from that 
mission Has the son of White Hair succeeded his father? 18 White Hair, 
who became chief shortly before my arrival, showed me every honor and 
accompanied me everywhere He gave me a grand reception as the fhst 
envoy from the gieat Bishop The day after my arrival he called the chiefs 
together in council. A place of honor was reseived for the black-robe, while 

bank of the Marais des Cygnes about one and a half miles northwest from the site 
of Papmville and about three miles from the junction of the Marais des Cygnes 
with, the Marmiton As to the location of the principal village of the Great Osage 
before the body of the tribe moved west of the Missouri state-line m the 'twen- 
ties, it was apparently on the east side of Little Osage River, near the mouth of 
the Marmiton in Vernon County, Missouri, at a distance of eight or nine miles in 
a straight line from Harmony Mission. (Letter of Francis La Fleche, Smithsonian 
Institute, Bureau of Ethnology, m Atkeson, History of Bates County, Missouri, 
1918, p 977) This location, the one indicated by Maj Pike, who visited the 
Great Osage m 1806 (Coues, Pike, p. 529), is accepted by Holcombe m his History 
of Verizon County and is vouched for by Van Quickenborne "Four years ago the 
great village of the Osages was but eight miles from this establishment [Harmony 
Mission] " Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, October 21, 1827. (B) On the 
other hand, W, O Atkeson contends in his History of Bates County , Missoun, 
p. 62, that "everything points to its site about a mile down the Marais des Cygnes 
from Harmony Station or practically right where the village of Papmville is now 
situated . . So, whatever may be thought of Pike's maps or wherever the prin- 
cipal village may have been in 1 806, it is certain that the mam body of the Grand 
Osage dwelt about a quarter-mile north of the present village of Papmville and 
about three-quarters from the Mission school and other buildings on the Marais des 
Cygnes river at least three miles north of the head of the Osage river m Bates 
County m 1821 and thereafter until they moved to their new country further 
west " 

18 Pahuska, (White Hair, Cheveux Blancs) , chief of the Great Osage, figures m 
Pike's Journal and other early records and books of travel According to one 
account he died a Catholic. (Holcombe, History of Vernon County , Missouri). His 
successor, Young White Hair, who died in 1833, was chief at the time of De La 
Croix's visit (Cf. Grant Foreman, Indians and, Pioneeis the Stoty of the- Amencan 
Southwest [New Haven, Conn, 1930], p, 22) According to the treaty of 1825 
the Osage reserve was laid out as a strip fifty miles wide extending westward 
from White Hair's village, which was situated on the west bank of the Neosho 
about six miles below the present town of St Paul. Kansas Hist Coll., 8 77 
George White Hair, son and successor of White Hair II as chief of the Grand 
Osage, was baptized by Father Bax, S J , on May 29, 1851, and died January 22, 
1852 (Infra, Chap XXVII, 3). 


Mr Chouteau, U S sub-agent, was at my side 19 After thanking the great 
chief and all the other chiefs, among whom was the famous Sans-Nerf, for 
the extraordinary reception accorded me and assuring them that I would 
inform our great father at St. Louis of all this enthusiasm, I proceeded to 
explain the object of my visit They consulted with one another for a 
space and then the gieat chief White Hair rises, comes toward me, grasps 
my hand, draws me in among the group of chiefs and pronounces with great 
dignity the following words "My Father, I am delighted to see you here, 
I am sorry that you did not come sooner, but come and you will speak the 
truth " He gave me his hand again and then withdrew to his place Mr. 
Chouteau and the interpreters told me that they had never heard an answer 
of that kind, "you will speak the truth," that is to say, "everything that you 
say will be done " After conveying our thanks we invited them to come the 
next day to Mr Chouteau's place, where I had prepared a pretty altar, so 
that they might assist at the Divine Sacrifice and at the baptism of a number 
of persons I began by explaining in French for the benefit of the many 
persons present who undei stood that language, the ceremonies of the Mass 
and afterwards those of Baptism ; I told the chiefs through an interpreter 
that I was going to speak to the Master of Life and that I would speak to 
Him for them "Ouai, Ouai," they all answered The services were per- 
formed without interruption. After Mass I baptized fifteen or twenty persons 
with all the ceremonies Then Mr. Chouteau called the great chief and all 
the others according to rank I placed around their necks a beautiful medal 
and ribbon and also presented each with a fine ivory crucifix When all had 
returned to their places, I told them that the whites held these objects in 
great veneiation and that I hoped they would also be satisfied "Ouai, Ouai'" 
So astonished were they and eager to go and show these articles to their 
wives and children that they forgot all about dinner. 20 

19 The Chouteaus became identified at a very early date with the Osage Indian 
trade Jean Pierre Chouteau, Sr , enjoyed a monopoly of the Osage trade under 
special license from the Spanish government, but subsequently lost it in large 
measure to Manuel Lisa Auguste P Chouteau, oldest son of Jean Pierre Chouteau, 
Sr., was an Osage trader and also U S agent to the tribe in the thirties, dying in 
1839 at his trading post on the Verdigris branch of the Arkansas, five miles from 
Fort Gibson, in what is now Oklahoma His brother, Ligueste P. Chouteau (al 
Paul Ligueste) was sub-agent and trader among the Osage at the period of Father 
De La Croix' s first visit of 1822, the principal government agent for the tribe at 
that time being Maj Richard Graham. Associated with Auguste P Chouteau in 
the Osage trade was his cousin, Anstide A Chouteau, eldest son of Auguste Chou- 
teau, Sr All three, Auguste P , Ligueste and Anstide Chouteau are named as 
sponsors in the De La Croix and Van Quickenborne baptismal records Half- 
brothers to Auguste P and Ligueste P Chouteau were the trio, Francis Gesseau, 
Cyprian, and Frederick Chouteau, pioneer Indian traders in the Kaw Valley, the 
trading post of Francis G Chouteau at the mouth of the Kaw having been the 
starting-point of Kansas City, Missouri 

20 De La Croix a De Smet, June 25, 1855 (A) Though the point remains a 
little obscure, the incidents narrated in this letter are probably to be referred to 
De La Croix's first Osage visit rather than to his second Though written more than 


Such, in the words of Father De La Croix, was the inauguration by 
him of Catholic missionary enterprise among the western Indian tribes 
in the nineteenth century In the following August he made a second 
visit to the Osage Leaving Florissant July 22, he journeyed for twelve 
days by forest and stream. According to Father Michaud, a priest of the 
St Louis diocese, who obtained his information direct from Father 
De La Croix himself, the Osage "were delighted to see him again 
All the horsemen turned out to meet him . . The head chief and 
six of his principal officers offered to conduct the missionary to the 
other villages. Ten days were thus spent, the missionary being every- 
where received with the same enthusiasm. In one of these villages 
more than two hundred horsemen, all covered from head to foot with 
their favorite ornaments, came out a great distance to meet him " 21 
Although this second visit was of short duration, the missionary suc- 
ceeded in making the rounds of all the villages. According to a con- 
temporary account from Father Odin, the Lazanst, De La Croix 
pursued his second missionary excursion of 1822 to a distance of a 
hundred "leagues" (from two hundred and fifty to three hundred 
miles) beyond the Osage country and into the territory of other 
Indian tribes 22 


Five years after the opening of the Osage Mission by the parish- 
priest of Florissant, Father Van Quickenborne, following in his footsteps, 
undertook in the summer of 1827 his first missionary visit to the people 
of White Hair and Sans Nerf, who had in the meantime moved from 
Missouri into what is now southeastern Kansas. The chief object of 
this visit was to secure Osage boys for the Indian school at Florissant. 
Van Quickenborne had been assured by General Clark that the only 
way of supplying the school with the desired number of pupils was 

thirty years after the incidents recorded, the account appears to be trustworthy and 
supplements the meagre notice of the visit of May, 1822, contained m De La 
Croix's letter of June, 1822, to Father Rosati 

21 Ann Prof , I 484 (Louvain ed ) 

22 Idem , I 450 That Father De La Croix extended his missionary trip of the 
summer of 1822 three hundred miles beyond the Osage country is improbable 
The missionary's own brief contemporary account (De La Croix a Rosati, Novem- 
ber 4, 1822, in Garraghan, Sf Ferdinand de Flonssant, p. 182), does not indicate 
that he journeyed west such a considerable distance It has been asserted that in the 
course of one of his Osage trips he visited the French settlers at the mouth of the 
Kaw on the site of Kansas City, Mo,, the assertion cannot be substantiated by any 
evidence, contemporary 01 otheiwise Cf Garraghan, Catholic Beginnings in Kan- 
sas City, Missouri, p 26 


to visit the Indian villages and negotiate in person with chiefs and 
parents for the education of their children 

This visit [of the loway chiefs] and other circumstances have made me 
see much better than before how little we can rely on Indians or on the 
efforts of Indian agents in behalf of our Seminary You must remember 
what the Secretary of War said to Bishop Du Bourg, viz that he wanted 
Jesuits Now, Rev. Father Superior, we must go out and make a choice of 
Indian boys Let the Indians know us Agents have told me this and Gen- 
eral Clarke is dubious of the success of the undertaking unless we do it 23 

Writing to the Father General in June, 1825, Van Quickenborne 
emphasizes as the chief advantage of a personal visit to the Indians 
the opportunity it would afford, not of recruiting the Indian school, 
but of baptizing a number of native children 

It is now going on four years since I have been m the neighborhood of 
the Indian villages without being allowed to go and bring them spiritual aid 
There aie three tribes really friendly to us Every year 120 children die 
among them and these children we could, by visiting the tribes once a year, 
regenerate in baptism and so secure for heaven Two of those tribes are only 
a four days' journey away from us, the third an eight days' journey The 
secular priest who had charge of this parish before we came paid an an- 
nual [?] visit to one of these tribes On the last occasion he baptized 76 
persons We have had to forego all this by obedience and we obeyed. 

And now, though most unworthy to be called your son, suppliant and 
prostrate at the feet of your Paternity, and in the names of the Saints, 
Ignatius, oui Fathei, and Xavier the apostle of the Indians, I ask and be- 
seech you. Very Reverend Father, to grant me permission to go myself or 
send some one of Ours once a year to these three tribes It is impossible to 
keep up our Seminary unless we meet these tnbes at least occasionally in 
their villages We shall in this manner obtain every year the salvation of 120 
little ones and sometimes more Not seldom, too, old people, sick or dying 
might be brought over to Christ and so disposed for a pious death 

But to accomplish this, at least in part, we need to be helped by your 
Very Rev Paternity. The government is now considering what we are 
going to do If we are left to ourselves, there is great reason to fear that we 
shall spoil everything. There would have to be one father to visit the Indian 
tribes, cultivate their friendship, conduct the boys to our seminary, attend 
the councils which are held in St Louis in presence of the General Superin- 
tendent and cultivate our friends m the Indian country Moreover, one 
[father] at least would have to be sent to hold command in a district It 
will be his duty to govern all the Indians living m the district, not only in 
spirituals but also in temporals since his support will come from the Govern- 
ment and since the Indians will be governed by American laws and will be 

28 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, Florissant, January 10, 1825 (A) 


aided considerably by the Government in temporals He will have to deal 
with government officials and will accordingly have to stay sometime in our 
Seminary to learn the laws and language of this country There will also be 
need of two lay-brothers up in farming to teach the Indians to woik In all 
these things he will meet with many difficulties Your Very Rev Paternity 
sees, therefore, what kmd of men are desired here. I think it would be rash 
to expose our young men to such serious danger without some grave man of 
God 24 

It was not until the visit of the Maryland superior to Florissant 
in the fall of 1827 that Van Quickenborne's petition to be allowed to 
visit the Indians in person was granted On August 7 of that year he 
set out from Florissant on his first excursion to the Osage Indians. 
This visit had its significance, marking as it did the formal opening of 
the missionary activity of the Missouri Jesuits among the Indian tribes 
of the West. For details concerning it we shall reproduce Father Van 
Quickenborne's own narratives, contained in two letters, one of them 
addressed to Father Dzierozynski and the other to Madame Xavier, 
a religious of the Sacred Heart. The letter to his superior, which is 
in English, is taken up largely with his experiences at the Harmony 
Presbyterian mission near Papinville, Bates Co., Missouri, through 
which he passed on his way to the Osage villages on the Neosho. 

I started, as your Reverence knows, on the octave of our holy Father 
St. Ignatius [August 7] in company with Mr Hamtramck, who has been 
always very kind and obliging to me 25 The first night after my departure 
from home, I lodged at St, Charles, where Mr McKay, the mason who 
built part of the church, came to see me, threw himself on his knees and said 
that he would stick to the articles of agreement Of course the business is 
settled with him and I paid him what I [had] offered to him He was very 
glad to come off so easy. I travel as a missionary, having with me my chapel 
I had to take moreover my tent, mosquito bar and blankets for my bed and 
some little presents, which made my burden rather heavy. The distance is 
about 350 miles, which we travel in 1 6 days In those parts of the country, 
this is the way of travelling At night the horses are let loose, hobbled how- 
ever, and they must look out for themselves, for all the way from Jefferson 
City to the Neosho, there is no corn to be had In the morning, the first thing 

24 Van Quickenborne ad Fortis, June 29, 1825 (AA) 

25 John F Hamtramck, son of Col John Francis Hamtramck, the latter a dis- 
tinguished soldier in the American Revolution Col Hamtramck died in Detroit, of 
which place he had been military commandant Hamtramck, a Detroit suburb, is 
named for him and he figures in a bit of Detroit romance (Hamlm, Legends of 
Detroit). General William H. Harrison was guardian of Col Hamtramck's chil- 
dren Billon, Annals of St Louis in its Territorial Days, p. 172. A daughter of 
John F* Hamtramck, Jr., Mary Rebecca, was baptized in St Ferdinand's Church, 
Florissant, Mo., by Bishop Du Bourg, July 19, 1822. 


is to catch the horses. Saddling and packing being done, the day's journey 
begins, and this always before sunrise Betwixt ten and eleven o'clock the 
march stops, the horses are unsaddled, unpacked and permitted to feed. At 
this hour breakfast and dinner is taken About three o'clock you start for 
your place of encampment, which is always taken about nvers or woods with 
springs; water has always been a plenty The bed consists of a skin which 
covers the ground (and) two or three blankets, the whole is covered by 
the mosquito bar, and I can assure you that I slept as comfortably as I ever 
did on a bed of down Until the Neosho we had no river to swim. Harmony 
is a place on the Osage river 26 Here the Society of Presbytenans of Boston 
have a missionary establishment called by them Harmony. It is about 120 
miles from the City of Jefferson (seat of government of this State) and as 
many from Lexington on the Missouri Four years ago the great village of 
the Osages was but eight miles from this establishment Two or three years 
ago the Indian title to this land has been extinguished and now Harmony 
and the old site of the Osage village are within the limits of the state . 
In consequence of the sale of their lands, the Indians [Osage] have removed 
their village to the banks of the Neosho nver about 70 or 68 miles further m 
a southwest direction. 27 Here (on the Neosho within 20 miles) the whole 
nation is gathered in four villages, one called the great village (to this Clair- 
mont's band must join itself next spring), another called the village of the 
Little Osage. There are besides two small ones of little importance The site 
of these villages is not likely to be removed, 

1st, because the government with a view of preventing it, has built them 

26 For location of Harmony Mission see su t pra y note 1 7 

27 Though the body of the Great Osage had removed to the Neosho Valley 
before 1827, many of the tribe were at this time still living in Bates and Vernon 
Counties, Missouri "Four years ago the great Osage village was only eight miles 
distant from this establishment [Harmony], but at present it is seventy miles, the 
Indians having sold their lands to the United States Still, many among them have 
been unable to make up their minds to quit the locality which has seen their 
birth and where they have been reared They continue living in the neighborhood, 
and in their midst it is that I began my mission " Van Quickenborne a Madame 
Xavier, Nov 6, 1827, in Ann Prop, 3 512 Osage bands were living on the 
Neosho before the mam body of the Great Osage moved there from Missouri 
in the twenties G C Sibley, factor at Fort Osage (now Sibley, Mo ) in a letter 
to Thomas L McKenney, October i, 1820, distinguishes three divisions of the 
Osage, exclusive of those of the Arkansas or Verdigris (i) the Great Osage of the 
Osage River, living in one village on the Osage River, seventy-eight miles due south 
of Fort Osage and numbering about twelve hundred souls, three hundred and 
fifty of them warriors and hunters, fifty or sixty superannuated, the rest women 
and children, (2) the Great Osage of the Neosho, and numbering about four 
hundred souls, about one hundred of them warriors and hunters, the rest aged 
persons, women and children, (3) the Little Osage living in three villages on 
the Neosho and numbering about a thousand souls, about three hundred of them 
warriors and hunters, twenty or thirty superannuated, the rest women and children. 
Kansas Hist. Coll., 9 26. 


three houses and very good and laige houses, too, for the three principal 
chiefs 3 

2d, in consequence of this expense ($6000), the agent will not be per- 
mitted to let them move elsewhere, 

3d, here the government has also fixed two blacksmiths and one faimer 
and is now building for each a house, 

4th, the site and countiy is beautiful, healthy, well- watered and ex- 
tremely liked by the Osage, 

5th, the nation has now only fifty miles in width left them 

Where lines are run, other nations join them south The State line is 
northeast [east] and this they may not approach within 25 miles 2S West 
are very strong nations with whom the United States have had as yet no 
intercourse, so that, although they could wish to move, they cannot The 
Agent, Superintendent and Secretary of War think there are 20,000 Osages 
Some think they are not so numerous The principal chiefs have invited me 
to their lodges, have been very kind towards me and promised to send me 
their boys They are, I believe, good Indians You will have an opportunity 
to see them next winter at the college, if you choose I would be glad of it 

Metifs or half-breed Indians Some fifty years ago two or three Canadian 
Frenchmen from Canada, came to this nation, married Indian women, had 
children, and their children have remained with the nation and have also 
married Indian women (Inter nos most of the traders have also such 
women) Some of these children have lived for a few years, some at St. 
Charles, some at Cote Sans Dessein and some at Florissant, where they 
have been instructed in the true religion Most of these metifs have been 
baptized by Catholic priests and all of them have an aversion for the 
Protestant religion. They neglect, however, the practice of their own re- 
ligion with few exceptions They all wish to have a Catholic priest and if 
they could give their children to our school, they would take them from the 
missionary school at Harmony To twenty-three of these metifs Government 
has given a tract of land. 29 

28 The east line of the Osagc reserve zan parallel to the Missouri state-line 
and twenty-five miles west of it "The reserve was fifty miles wide and extended 
westward from White Hair's village, an Indian encampment which is supposed 
to have been situated on the Neosho river about six miles below the present city 
of St Paul " The treaty provided that the western boundary should be a line "run- 
ning from the head source of the Arkansas liver south waidly through the rich 
Saline probably as far West as the Osages had ever dared to assert an occupancy- 
claim " Annie Heloise Abel, "Indian Reservations in Kansas and the Extinguish- 
ment of their Title" m Kansas Hist Cofl , 8 77 With a view to prevent hostile 
contact between Indians and whites, the treaty of 1825 creating the Osage reserve 
set up a "buffer state" twenty- five miles m width between the east boundary 
of the Osage reserve and the Missouri state-line This narrow strip, acquired by 
the Cherokee from the federal government m 1836 after the extinction of the 
Osage half-breed title, became known as the Cherokee Neutral Lands 

29 The names of these metifs or mixed-bloods are listed m the text of the 
Osage treaty of June 2, 1825 Cf Kappler, Indian Laws and Treaties, 2 219. 
The names occur passim in the De La Croix and Van Quickenborne baptismal 


The establishment at Harmony 

The establishment is governed as to the general concerns by a board of 
Commissioners The Reverend gentlemen at Harmony aie of the Presby- 
terian persuasion They have an establishment at Harmony, a station on the 
Neosho and anothei at Union on the Arkansas nver near Clairmont's band 
Each receives from Government $600 30 The Superintendent at Harmony 
is called Dodge. This gentleman of very common abilities has a pretty 
numerous family. A certain Mr Hasten with his numerous family makes out 
another part of the establishment By the Indians, Superintendent of Indian 
Affairs, Geneial Clark, agents and tiaders they are despised and ill-spoken 
of to excess, and represented as self seeking people, seeking foi nothing but 
money The Indians call Mr. Dodge Tabosca, a name they gave also to 
me. It signifies a man with a white neck, they gave this name because the 
first priest that went to them appeared in a white surplice No metif or 
Indian would listen to their doctrine or join them, so that they have not 
made as yet a single convert. Their reprehensions and accusations made out 
of season to and about the traders and agents render them odious Towards 
me they have been extremely kind At Harmony I was invited by Mr Dodge 
to lodge in his house, (of) which offer I accepted, since Mr Harntramck 
lodged there too and intended to make a stay of two days Previous notice 

records Early in the thirties Van Quickenborne projected a sort of "reduction" 
or model settlement on the Marmiton River, to which he was willing to admit 
such among the half-breeds as promised to live in a Christian way "Se\eral metif s 
and Frenchmen living with Indian women expiessed an ardent wish to come to 
the new establishment, promising to lead there a Christian life " Commenting 
on this Father Paul Ponziglione, S J , resident missionary at the Catholic Osage 
Mission for forty years, writes "In regard to this point, I feel proud to be able 
to say, that having personally known many of these people when I was living at 
the Osage Mission, the majority kept the promise they had made, and not only 
did they show themselves good Christians, but were of great assistance to us in 
bringing the full-blooded Osages to embrace Christianity" WL, 25 359 

30 The first missionary post established among the Osage of the Neosho was 
Union Mission, begun m 1820 on the west bank of the Grand or Neosho by the 
United Foreign Missionary Society (Associate Reformed and Reformed Presby- 
terian Dutch Churches in the United States) In 1824. another station (Presby- 
terian) was established on the west bank of the Neosho north, of Shaw A third 
mission, "Boudmot" (also Presbyterian) was opened by Rev. Nathaniel B Dodge 
in 1831 It was located on the east bank of the Neosho River near Four Mile 
Creek (The above dates differ from those indicated in Kansas Hist Coll , 9 571) 
These early missionaries did not make a success of their ventures among the 
Osage and withdrew from the field The records left by them are of importance 
for the pioneer history of "the Osage country" (Cf. Foreman, Indians and, 
PtoneetS) p 92 et seq ) As regards Harmony Mission, Atkeson writes in his Htstoty 
of Bates County, Missouri, p 75 "All the evidence obtainable of results at 
Harmony Mission school in this county goes to show that the ten years' earnest 
effort that was put forth m their behalf was poorly rewarded Indeed, it may be 
said that the school was a flat failure " 


was given me that they attacked every one that came to their house on the 
score of religion After supper the whole family was pleased to be in the 
unusual company of a priest and as a matter of course Mr. Dodge, having 
his brother minister, the Rev. Mr Jones at his side, broached the subject of 
religion After he had put me some questions, among others this, "what sect 
are the Jesuits ?" which I answered to his satisfaction, I observed that our 
faith ought to be leasonable, that to be so, sufficient motives for believing 
were required and that to captivate our understanding and believe a mystery 
nothing short of the authority of God could be a sufficient motive and that 
in order to be obliged to believe that mystery an infallible witness was neces- 
sary which with infallible certainty should assure us that God had revealed 
that mystery. The gentlemen agreed to all this, for I had spoken of the 
Unitarians and I applied these things to them We all agreed that the 
Unitarians had no reasonable faith As the gentleman had put me some 
questions, I used the same liberty, and asked whether he believed in the 
Trinity? R[eply] Yes. 

Qfuestion]. Can you give me sufficient reason for believing m the 

R The Bible 

Q But we have seen that the Unitarian proves from his Bible that there 
is no Trinity. What reason have you to prefer your bible to his bible ? 
R. The spirit. 

Q. In Holy Scripture mention is made of two kinds of spirit, the spirit 
of lies and the spmt of truth. What reason have you to believe that you have 
the spmt of truth and not the spirit of lies? 
R. The spirit 

Q. I observed that since he had no reason why he should believe his spirit 
to be the spirit of truth, he had no sufficient reason to believe m the Trinity 
The gentleman replied, "but what reason have you?" I answered that I 
would give my reason after we should have settled the first point He began 
then again to attempt to prove that he had a reason to believe m the Trinity 
But a sufficient reason was required he could not give it. I was again asked 
why I believed m the Trinity. I promised again to give my reasons after the 
first point would be settled He tried for a third time to give a sufficient 
reason for believing in the Trinity but could not. The conclusions bi ought 
m against him were [i] that he had no reasonable faith, 2, that since he had 
no sufficient reason to believe in the doctrines of his church, he was not 
allowed to preach these doctrines, 3, that under pain of eternal damnation he 
was required to inquire into the matter. The gentleman could make no objec- 
tion to this I then gave my reasons. His only objection was that our church 
had changed its doctrines, but when proofs of this objection were asked he was 
stopped short. Before we retired, I told him that I knew what Indian 
children he had m his school, for I was their pastor, "for" I said, "they are 
members of our church and I have charge over them." Consequently I 
hoped he would have no objection that the next day they would attend the 
divine service I was to give at the United States factory, a pretty large 


building a few hundred steps from Mr Dodge's and the use of which was 
given me by the agent 31 

R. I have no objection 

Q Mr Dodge, there are several others whom I know that have not 
as yet been baptized but wish to be baptized. Will you be so kind as to let 
them also come? 

R. No, sir 

Q Mr. Dodge, I know the parents of these children and have spoken 
to them on the subject. If in any wise you prevent them from following 
the religion of their choice, they will surely withdraw their children 

R. I will let them go if their parents come for them 

Of course I went to their parents and the next day they all came with 
their children to my chapel The church vestments which Mr. De La Croix 
had used there had been given to the care of Mr Dodge and were found 
in good order They are nicer and richer than any we have at home In- 
stead of an altar piece, I had a banner of fine silk elegantly embroidered 
and bearing a fine engraving of the Blessed Virgin 32 I can say that my 
altar was well fixed. Early m the morning the place was ciowded with 
Indians. The first that came to confession was an Osage of twenty-one 
years old, who knew a little of the French language I was extremely 
pleased with his modest behavior About the hour appointed for Mass I 
began to baptize those whom I had prepared Mr. Dodge and Mrs. Dodge, 
with the Rev Mr. Jones and Mr. Hasten with all their families came to 
Mass, sermon and the ceremony of baptism In their presence I baptized 
about one-third of their school, m all eighteen, but of these eighteen, several, 
perhaps six were not of their school. 33 The families of these gentlemen 
seemed to be pleased with the explanation of the ceremonies and some even 
of the ladies offered themselves to be god-mothers. After Mass there re- 
mained as yet six grown boys and girls to whom I wished to give some 
more instruction before I began with them Rev. Mr Dodge begged leave 
of me to address the congregation Although his intentions were very good, 
no doubt, I did not think proper to grant it, giving for reason that it was 
against the rules of our church. The building could not by far contain the 

B1 The authority cited m Atkeson, History of Bates County , Mtssouti, is 
seemingly in error m locating the United States factory a mile away from Harmony 

32 "The day for baptizing having come, I fixed up my altar as well as 1 
could The chief ornament was a handsome banner from Madame Duchesne, 
showing a beautiful picture of the Blessed Virgin, embroidered by the young 
ladies of the Sacred Heart boarding-school. It was an object of delight to the 
Indian women" Ann. Prop, 3 5*3- 

33 The record of these eighteen baptisms performed by Van Quickenborne 
at Harmony Mission, August 21, 1827, is entered m French in the missionary's 
own handwriting m the baptismal register of St. Ferdinand's Church, Florissant, 
Mo. (Eafteme des Qsages a harmony le 21 aout 1827) For the names of the 
children baptized on this occasion, nearly all Osage half-breeds, cf mfra, Chap. 
XXVII, note I. 


Indians who wished to be present All the time of divine service, they be- 
haved lemarkably well To all those whom I baptized I gave a medal or 
a crucifix I told the grown boys and gnls of Mr Dodge's school that they 
were not allowed by their icligion to join him in religious worship and that 
if they should preach to them, they should not listen to their preaching 
Nothing more was necessary to make a talk Children cannot keep a secret 
and in fact there was none No sooner had they returned home but they 
told their teachers c the priest has said that we should not listen to you ' 
Mr Hasten to my great satisfaction came to me and asked whether I had 
reallv said so After he had heard my explanation, in which I remarked 
that it was my duty to tell them so, he was satisfied as were also the rev- 
erend gentlemen whom I called to be witnesses of my explanation The 
next day Mr Dodge invited me to visit his school and there I saw my 
little and big fellows whom I had baptized, with their medals and crosses 
on their necks 

On my return I was again received most kindly and they even went 
so far as to piepare provisions and comforts for my travelling They 
appeared to me to be moial, industrious, peaceable and good-natured people 
They related to me how much they had to suffer m the beginning, what 
privations they had to undergo, how many days they had been without 
bread and corn, how many days they had to live in tents 34 On my return 
I met several Americans [ms ? ] the Osage village, some hunting after their 
strayed horses and some after bees Among the Osages lives a farmer to teach 
them how to make a faim, and two blacksmiths to mend their guns and hoes 
When will the time come that we will have at least as much courage as 
these men? If your Reverence cannot give me a Superior or companion, 
I am willing to go alone 

Miserculus tuns 

C. F Van Quickenborne " 35 

From Harmony Mission Father Van Quickenborne travelled south- 
west to the Osage villages on the Neosho What befell him in the Osage 
country is told in a letter of his to Madame Xavier 36 

From there [Harmony] I set out for the great village situated on the 
bank of the Neosho river, two days' jouiney from Harmony About a 
hundred Indians came out to meet the agent in whose company I was. 
We put up at Mr Chouteau's place I had the happiness of saying on the 
feast of St Louis, August 25, the first Mass ever said in this country. It 
was a Saturday and the following day I proclaimed a jubilee for the few 
Creoles living among the Osage Three days after our arrival, I was invited 

34 Details of these distressing experiences are recorded in the journal of the 
Harmony missionaries reproduced in Atkeson's history 

85 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, Florissant, October 21, 1827 (B). 
The Latin tmserculus tuus may be freely rendered, "yours in great misery *' 

36 A nun of the Society of the Sacred Heart. 


to dinner by the chief of the great village, and two days later by the chief 
of a village of the Osage twenty miles farther up the Neosho I was de- 
lighted with the reception they gave me as well as with the dispositions 
they manifested. I remained with them two weeks and baptized seventeen 
persons 37 The three principal chiefs have said that they would send their 
children to the Seminary and I am inclined to think that they will do so 
When I walked through the village, my religious garb easily maiked me off 
from others, and a troop of youngsters followed me Nothing could have 
given me greater pleasure, but as soon as I turned around to say something 
to them, off they would scamper and hide behind the first house on the way 
However, two little fellows, sons of the chief, having each received a medal 
from me ran off at once to show themselves (with their new decoration 
suspended around their neck by a pretty ribbon) to their companions, who 
thereupon were ready enough to approach me How gladly I should have 
taught them some catechism' But not knowing their language, I could 
only give them the little presents I carried with me, while praying their 
guardian angels to obtain for them soon the favor of becoming members of 
the Church of Jesus Christ I was strongly urged to build a church among 
them and I have hopes of seeing soon a parish composed of Indians Sixteen 
square miles of land have been given to the metifs at a distance of fifty 
miles from the great village, besides twenty-three square miles at a distance 
of seventy miles. They are anxious to settle on these lands provided they 
can have a priest to instruct them and their children Let us pray the Lord 
of the harvest to send good workeis 3S 

Father Van Quickenborne's visit to the Osage in 1827 was followed 
by a report to Father Dzierozynski on the difficulties of missionary 
work on behalf of that tribe 

Obstacles to the conversion of the savages. 

I. To make Christians of them you ought first to make them men 
They must abandon then savage manner of living which, as practiced by 
them, is one continuation of mortal sins [i.e. objectively, without raising the 

37 These baptisms, "a Ntosho ch&z Mi Ligueste Chouteau^ the earliest of 
explicit record as having taken place within the limits of Kansas, were entered 
by Van Quickenborne m the register of St Ferdinand's Church, Florissant, Mo , 
immediately after his return from the Neobho The names of the baptized, nearly 
all of them Osage half-breed children, are Henry Mongram (son of Noel fete and 
of Tonpapai, aged two years, sponsor, Mr Liguebte P Chouteau), Julie Mongram, 
daughter of Noel, Antome [Vasseur], Basile Vasseur, Frangois Mongram, Pierre 
Mongram, Louis Alexander Chouteau, John Francis Chouteau, Pelagic Chouteau, 
Angehque Quenville, Joseph. Mongram, Pelagic Mongram, Alexandre Ligueste 
Chouteau, Clemence Williams, Paul Mongram, Julie Mongram, daughter of Basile, 
Christophe Mongram Sponsors in these baptisms were Ligueste Chouteau, P M 
Papm, Major Hamtramck, Louis Peltier, Alexander Peter, P. L Mongram and 
Christophe Sangumet. 

38 Ann. Prof, 3 513 


question of subjective guilt] A change of the whole nation would have to 
take place either by the influence of the chiefs or agent or missionary, but 
neither of these can do it sepaiately, but to do it in concordance is impos- 
sible (moially speaking) Several most influential individuals find it to their 
interest to keep the Indians in the state in which they are The chiefs by 
themselves have not power to make laws or regulations binding on the 
nation, to forbid, for instance, things essentially contrary to a civilized life, 
neither has the agent The American eye could never behold a Catholic 
pnest directing or influencing both agent and chiefs and superintendent and 
secretary of war to make laws of his own liking. However, without some 
laws it is impossible to live with them 

2. The fickleness of agents. These like the tiaders, are mostly keeping 
Indian women. To my certain knowledge, Mr. Hamtramck has none, yet 
since some time he has left off the practice of his religion. A missionary 
living in the nation would easily offend them Once offended they have it 
in their power to make the situation of the missionary so cruel that he could 
not stand it. The Protestant missionary who lives at the Indian village gets 
nearly every week a good flogging from some or other Indian fellow. 

3. The plurality of wives and the barbarous custom relating to them. 
The riches of an Osage consists in having many wives, many girls and 
many horses. If he has many wives, he has many slaves, if he has many 
girls, he has many objects which he can sell very dear, for every wife must 
be bought. When a father thinks his daughter has not a good husband, he 
takes her away to his lodge and sells her. 

Plan to be pursued in conversion of the Osage nation. 

Begin an establishment near Harmony on the land of the metifs Buy 
one quarter section of land of some of them and build a church and house 
for two missionaries and one or two brothers One might keep a school, 
but only a day-school Good families (Indians whom I know) may be 
found where the boys and girls, separately however, shall be kept, that 
would not have their paients near the establishment. The expense would be 

Advantages l) The land belonging to the metifs is an object of attrac- 
tion to them 2) Attraction of church and school. 3) Site of old village 
hence many Indians go there. 4) From this establishment missionaries can 
ride in one day to the great Osage village 5) A whole township of late 
Osage land is to be sold for school fund; we would receive a part of the 
fund for our school, as General Clark told us. 

Disadvantages The place is rather nigh to the Protestant missionary 
establishment. If we should destroy their school by drawing their children 
to ours, we would incur their indignation. 

I most earnestly wish that your Reverence explicitly approve of this 
establishment and name the two Fathers and brothers whom you destine for 
it. I offer myself, not to be Superior but as one that will carry their baggage 
and be his whole life time their servant. Father De Smet would be proper 


to go and I am very willing to take him as my Superior. Next year it should 
be commenced. 39 

In the settlements along the Mississippi the adventurous trip of 
the Jesuit superior to the Osage in their homes beyond the Missouri 
state-line stirred a more than ordinary interest. Father Odin wrote from 
the Barrens to his parents in France relating the incidents, while Father 
Bouillier in a letter from New Orleans containing a brief account of 
the excursion commented "At the present writing Father Van Quicken- 
borne is on the point of going to the Osage for the second time, his zeal 
is indefatigable." 40 In the spring of 1828 the latter found the oppor- 
tunity for a second excursion to the Indian country. Early m that year 
the recently ordained priests at St Ferdinand had begun the exercises 
of the tertianship under the direction of Father Van Qmckenborne. 
At the close, on February 7, of the retreat of thirty days, they were 
assigned to various missionary and ministerial duties which necessitated 
their absence from the Seminary. The superior, thus left free to pursue 
missionary work of his own, set out from Florissant for the Osage 
country in the spring of 1828. 

Visiting first the Harmony Mission on the Marais des Cygnes, where 
he renewed acquaintance with the Osage children he had baptized the 
preceding year, he continued his journey thence to the Great Osage 
village on the Neosho. Here and in other Indian villages m the vicinity 
he discharged his ministry, preaching and administering the sacraments. 
He performed seventeen baptisms m the course of this second Osage 
excursion, of which, however, no record has survived Many adult 
Indians were eager to be baptized; but of the number he found only 
five or six worthy of the grace, the loose, savage ways of the average 
Osage adult being an effectual barrier to the practice of a Christian 
life. When Van Quickenborne set out on his return journey from the 
Neosho, he had in his company a little Osage "prince," who, with 
some display of Indian ceremony, had been delivered to his charge 
to be educated in the Indian school at Florissant. 41 

In 1830 Father Van Quickenborne paid a third visit to the Osage. 
His route brought him first to their villages along the Marmiton River 
m what is now Bourbon County, Kansas, not far from the present Fort 
Scott. From the Marmiton he turned to the southwest, it has been said, 
visiting on his way all the Indian lodges on the Neosho as far as its 
junction with the Saline, about forty miles north of Fort Gibson and 
establishing missionary stations m the Osage settlements on the Chou- 

89 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynsh, Florissant, October n, 1827. (B). 

40 Am. Prof, 3 $19, 535 

41 Ann. Prof.y 4 572. 


teau, Pryor and Cabin creeks. This would have led him far within the 
limits of what is now Oklahoma and made him probably the first priest 
to exercise the ministry in that part of the West 42 

42 The Osage Register throws no light on Van Quickenborne's itinerary of 
1830 except to indicate that he was near the Marmiton and Marais des Cygneb 
Rivers on the Missouri bolder The particulars of this itinerary as given in the 
text are supplied by Father Paul Ponzighone, S J , veteran Osage missionary, 
from what source is not known, they cannot be verified WL, 13 19 Van Quicken- 
borne's Osage baptisms of 1830, as entered in the Osage Register , comprise three 
on June 8, "Done at the house of Francis D'Aybeau near the banks of the Marmi- 
ton n\er, opposite the place where formerly was the village of the grand Soldat," 
and six on June 9, "Done at the house of Joseph Entaya near the Marais des 
Cygnes " Moreover, there ib a record in the same register of three marriage cere- 
monies which the missionary performed at the house of Francis D'Aybeau on 
June 8 These nine baptisms and three marriages are the only rites recorded for 
the trip of 1830 The marriage entries are as follows "1830, Jum 8, the 3 Publi- 
cations having been dispensed with, I have received the mutual consent of and 
given the nuptial blessing according to the rites of our holy Mother, the Catholic 
Church, to the three following couples 

I, Francis D'Aybeau, akas Brugiere, a Frenchman, and Mary, an Osage woman 

2 Joseph Brown, alias Equesne, a Frenchman, son of Stephen Brown and Acile 
Giguiere, and Josette D'Aybeau, daughter of Francis D'Aybeau, a Metif girl of 
the Osage nation 

3, Basile Vasseur, son of a Basil [e], who was a half-breed of the Osage nation, 
and Mary, an Osage woman, daughter of Kanza Shmga 

The witnesses have been Chnstophe Sangumet and Louis Peltier Done at the 
house of Francis D'Aybeau near the banks of the Marmiton river, 8 Jum, 1830 

(Signed) Chs F Van Quickenborne, S J " 

Particulars about the three above named couples are contained in a report of 
Van Quickenborne's dated 1833 relative to his plans for a "reduction" or Chris- 
tian settlement among the Osage half-breeds of the Missouri border "When I 
was last time in that country, June, 1830, three good families, by my aduce, had 
removed from the villages and had actually commenced a life of civilized persons 
and good Christians as far as they knew One more family was expected eveiy 
day The heads of two of these families were metifb, or three quarteis Indian 
blood, the third is a Canadian, a truly well disposed man, fit to be an interpreter, 
the fourth is a half-metif . the place where these four families live is called 
Le Village du Grand Soldat on the banks of the Marmiton nver, about 300 miles 
from St Charles m a southwest direction These should be visited immediately 
and made acquainted with our final resolution of remaining among them The 
place where the four families live is not proper for the new establishment they 
wish to remove and therefore should have timely notice the fathers must abso- 
lutely live where these families are, not only to instruct them, but to learn the 
Indian language." WL, 25 354 The location of Big Soldier Village has not been 
identified by the writer If west of the Missouri state-line near the site of Fort 
Scott m Bourbon County, Kansas, as Father Ponzighone seems to intimate, then 
Van Quickenborne's three marriages of June 8, 1830, are the earliest certified 
church marriages in the state of Kansas 



A contemporary memorandum in the St Louis archdiocesan archives 
records that "St. Charles, St Ferdinand, Dardenne and the other mis- 
sions were given to the Jesuits on June 3, 1823 " Later, in September 
of the same year, Father Van Quickenborne informed the Jesuit su- 
perior in Maryland that Bishop Du Bourg approved his taking charge 
of St Charles and the other parishes 1 

The assertion, a gratuitous one, may be met with that Father 
Sebastien-Louis Meurm, last survivor of the eighteenth-century Jesuits 
in the Mississippi Valley, was the first priest to exercise the ministry in 
the Creole settlement known as St. Ferdinand de Florissant, but more 
generally as St. Ferdinand or Florissant. Thirteen years after the pass- 
ing of Father Meurm (1777) the church records of Florissant open 
with the interment in the parish-cemetery, November 9, 1790, of 
Hyacmthe La Mere (Lamaire), the ceremony taking place "en presence 
de -plusieurs de cette parotsse " Very likely the organization of the parish 
was due to Father Bernard de Limpach, Capuchin pastor of St. Louis, 
whence he withdrew to another field of labor in the November of 
I789. 2 Already m 1789 a church and presbytery had been erected 3 
On August 5, 1792, the Benedictine, Father Pierre Joseph Didier, then 
resident at St. Charles, baptized Claude Pallet, this being the first 
entry in the parochial Registre de$ Baf femes Father Didier was fol- 
lowed m the care of the parish by the Recollect, Leander Lusson, the 
Capuchin, Thomas Flynn, and the diocesan priest, James Maxwell. 
None of these clergymen, however, with the probable exception of 
Father Didier, made their residence at any time at Florissant. 4 The 

1 Van Quickenborne to Neale, Florissant, September 23, 1823. (B) 

2 J Rothenstemer, "P Bernard von Limpach und die Anfange der Kirche 
in St Louis," Pastoral Blatt (St Louis), 52 113 

3 The first St Ferdinand's church, which continued to stand after the erection 
of the second church, the present one, was destroyed by fire m the summer of 

4 According to testimony given by Hyacmthe Deshetres, builder of Florissant's 
first church, before Recorder of Land Titles Theodore Hunt in 1825, Dunand 
owned and cultivated a lot in Florissant about 1795. Hunt's Minutes, I 6. 
(Library of Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis ) 



first resident pastors appear to have been the Trappist monks who 
arrived there in the spring of 1809, but departed thence some months 
later for Illinois where they settled at the well-known Big Mound on 
the outskirts of East St Louis. From there Father Dunand and his 
brother priests made periodical visits to Florissant, Dunand continuing 
them after the departure of the Trappist group from Illinois, at which 
time he went to reside at St Charles In 1814 he took up his residence 
in Florissant. Here, endeared to the village folk, to whom he was 
familiarly known as the Father Prior from the circumstance that he had 
filled that post in the Trappist community, he continued to discharge 
the duties of pastor until April, 1820, when Father Charles De La 
Croix took charge of the parish. 

Dunand's pastorate at Florissant saw the erection there under his 
superintendence of a convent of the Religious of the Sacred Heart. 
The building, which stood on an out-lot of the town between two creeks 
and on the line of St Frangois Street prolonged, was first occupied by 
the nuns in December, 1819. Two years later was built a new church, 
which adjoined the convent on the southwest. On February 19, 1821, 
Father De La Croix laid the corner-stone, which was a gift from Mother 
Duchesne. Florissant's second house of worship, dedicated to the Sacred 
Heart of Jesus under the invocation of St. Ferdinand and St. John 
Francis Regis, was solemnly blessed November 21, i82i. 5 With the 
church of red brick that thus arose under Father De La Croix's enter- 
prising direction, Mother Duchesne had intimate associations. "During 
my illness," she wrote in her journal, "I felt sorry to die before I had 
erected a public oratorv in honor of the Sacred Heart. I spoke of it 
to the Bishop and he decided that the church he is going to build at 
Florissant should be dedicated to the Sacred Heart, and to St. Ferdi- 
nand only in a secondary manner." The fervent nun had taken to heart 
the words Mother Barat had spoken to her on her departure for 
America: "If in the country where you are going you were to do no 
more than erect one altar to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, it would be 
enough for your happiness in eternity." 6 The choice of the Jesuit saint, 
John Francis Regis, as one of the patrons of the new church, was 
likewise made in deference to Mother Duchesne, who had solicited 
this favor of Bishop Du Bourg. T It is noteworthy that devotion to 
St. John Francis Regis had appeared at a still earlier period in the 
American West. Father Gravier, seventeenth-century Jesuit missionary 

5 Garraghan, St Ferdinand de Florissant, p 167. 

6 Baunard, Lije of Mother Duchesne, p 215. 

7 The history of Mother Duchesne's devotion to St John Francis Regis is 
traced by her m a letter to Mother Barat, 1818 Marjone Erskme, Mother 

Duchesne (New York, 1926), p. 346 et seq 


in the "Illinois country," found a relic of the saint the most potent of 
preservatives against malignant fever 

The transfer of St. Ferdinand parish to the Jesuits was effected 
as soon as circumstances allowed. Father De La Croix administered 
his last baptism in the church on June 4 and Father Van Quickenborne 
his first on June 19, 1823. On June 12 De La Croix noted in the 
baptismal register that after paying out six thousand dollars for the 
new church he had still three hundred and fifty-five dollars in debts, 
"which Mr. Van Quickenborne has the goodness to assume." Moreover, 
there were owing to the church some three hundred and eighty dollars 
which were to be paid m the course of the following year. "Mr. De La 
Croix left the affairs of the parish in good order," witnessed Van 
Quickenborne in the first letter sent by him from Florissant to Father 
Rosati, vicar-general for upper Louisiana. De La Croix must have left 
Florissant about the middle of June. He carried with him to the South 
a letter from Van Quickenborne announcing to Bishop Du Bourg the 
safe arrival of the Jesuits at Florissant. 8 

The parish of St. Ferdinand's was not conspicuous at this particular 
period for fervor or regularity of Catholic practice. The testimony of 
pioneer ecclesiastical observers points to no high level of Catholic life 
in most of the Creole settlements of upper Louisiana. 9 A nonchalant 
attitude towards the prescribed observances of the Church coupled with 
the almost total spiritual neglect in which the settlers were left through 
long periods of time owing to scarcity of priests had borne their fruits. 
Within a year after his arrival at Florissant the scholastic, Van Assche, 
wrote to his friend, De Nef, in Belgium that the manner of life led 
by the Catholics of the neighborhood was not in harmony with the 
faith they professed At the same time there were many conversions 
and a better state of things could be hoped for. In particular, the Creole 
passion for dancing had considerably abated as a result of the severity 
with which Father Van Quickenborne had inveighed against it. 10 That 
the priests of the Jesuit community were beginning to make an impres- 
sion on the villagers is further witnessed to by Mother Duchesne. "The 
revivals preached by the Fathers bring into the Church and then to 
the sacraments almost all the village. One hundred and sixty men 
have made their Easter Communion [1824]. On the feast of Corpus 

8 Van Quickenborne a Rosati, September 8, 1823. (C) 

9 Bishop Flaget on his visit to St Louis m 1814 was painfully impressed with 
the religious apathy of the people Spaldmg, Life of Btshof Flaget, p 134. 

10 Van Assche a De Nef, Florissant, 1824 (A). Balls and dancing, the favorite 
diversions of the Creoles, met with general disfavor from the clergy of the period. 
Bishop Flaget preached vehemently against the practice at Ste Genevieve, Sep- 
tember 21, 1814. Spalding, of. ctt. y p 138. 


Chnsti the procession followed by all the parishioners went along the 
streets and through the fields The Blessed Sacrament rested on an altar 
erected in our oat field These Fathers would convert a kingdom " n 
A contemporary account of the Fete-Dieu or Corpus Chnsti proces- 
sion of 1825 in Florissant was penned by Mr. Van Assche 

The following was the older of the procession One of the Indian boys 
cained the cross, and then came four in surplices carrying little bells, and 
after them the rest The Indians were followed by the boys of the Sunday 
schools and these by the women, next came the girls of the Sunday schools 
conducted by the nuns, then the boarders followed by their teachers and 
the other nuns, then the clergy, our Father Superior carrying the Blessed 
Sacrament and attended by deacon, sub-deacon, two chanters in copes and 
a master of ceremonies To add to the beauty of the procession statues were 
earned by the children, who scattered flowers along the way while sacred 
hymns weie sung alternately by the nuns and the scholastics In the midst 
of a field adjoining the church an altar was fitted out with the finest deco- 
rations we could procure It was guarded by more than twenty soldiers, 
several of them Protestants, who discharged their muskets before, during 
and after the Benediction During the High Mass Rev Father Superior 
explained the significance of the ceremonies and proved the doctrine of the 
Real Presence, at the same time exhorting the Catholics to show by then 
conduct the reality of their faith in the Blessed Sacrament So moved were 
the Catholics by the preacher's words that they would have thrown a Prot- 
estant over the fence for not taking off his hat, had the fellow not taken 
to flight. That day our church was altogether too small Some of the 
Protestants were so captivated by our ceremonies that they assured one of 
the Fathers they would never fail to be present on similar occasions The 
procession would have marched through the village were it not that we 
feared some act of irreverence on account of so many Protestants living here 
For this reason it took place on the property of the Ladies of the Sacied 
Heart, all Protestants being required to uncover their heads before the Blessed 
Sacrament 12 

Eight years later, on the Sunday within the octave of Corpus Chnsti, 
July 12, 1833, another Fete-Dieu procession took place, the details of 
which have come down to us Father De Theux, superior of the 
Missouri Mission, was celebrant of the Mass, with Father Van Lommel, 
deacon, and Father Van Assche, sub-deacon. De Theux preached a 
French sermon and Van Lommel one in English. "I preached in 
English," the latter informed a friend, "for almost an hour, proving 
the Real Presence (i) from the promise in John, VI, (2) from the 
promise fulfilled, (3) from the faith of the primitive church and of all 

11 Baunard, of ctt , p 261. 

12 Van Assche a De Nef, Florissant, September I, 1825. (A). 


centuries down to the sixteenth, which I confirmed by the words and 
admissions of Luther. (4) This faith is still that of all Christians, except 
the seventh part. Mass began at ten o'clock It was two o'clock when 
we returned to the church. All of course were tired, but we did not 
mind the fatigue, so glad were we that everything passed off in so 
orderly a manner." 13 

An incident of note in the early church history of Florissant was 
the consecration of Father De La Croix's brick church by Bishop Rosati 
on September 2, 1832. The building of the edifice in 1821 had exhausted 
the slender resources of the parish and it was not until about eleven 
years later, in the spring of 1832, that the work of plastering was taken 
in hand. It was due largely to the efforts of Father De Theux, when 
superior of the Missouri Mission, that the church was brought to 
completion. He informed a friend in Europe: 

The church of St Ferdinand was built almost twelve years ago, but 
except for its windows and doors, altar and pews, it was more like a barn* 
than a church It has just been plastered and solemnly consecrated on Sep- 
tember 2nd last by Mgr. Rosati, our venerable Bishop It has cost us to 
finish it $760, of which $580 was furnished by a subscription made up by 
the Bishop, the Ladies of the Sacred Heart and the people, the remainder 
of the sum was paid by the Jesuit Fathers Unfortunately the weather on 
the day of consecration could not have been worse, still, everything was 
carried on according to the Pontifical and in the best of order. Quite a 
number of people were in attendance, but we are convinced that more than 
two thousand would have been present had the weather not been so 
unfavorable. 14 

The ceremony of consecration was complete m every rubrical detail. 
It began at eight in the morning and ended at three m the afternoon. 
Despite a steady downpour of ram which lasted all day., crowds had 
come for the occasion from St. Louis and St. Charles All the priests 
of the Missouri Mission were present with the exception of Fathers 
Van Quickenborne and Verreydt, who were absent on missionary duty, 
and Father De Smet, who remained in St. Louis to look after the 
students of the college. A decorative device much in vogue at the period 
was utilized by Fathers Elet and Van de Velde in their efforts to 
beautify the newly finished church. They hung the walls with scrolls 
displaying Scripture texts, conspicuous among which was the one, "It is 
written, my house shall be a house of prayer." Father Van Lommel had 
been announced as the English and Father Verhaegen as the French 
preacher for the occasion, but the length of the ceremonies made it 

13 Van Lommel ad Dzierozynsh, St Louis, July 12, 1832. (A) 

14 Ann Prof , 7 120. 


necessary to omit the set sermons. But Van Lommel at Bishop Rosati's 
request made a brief address, pointing out, with his customary fondness 
for orderly presentation, that the solemn dedication of a church is 
conformable to reason, to the precepts of the Old Law, and to the 
practice of the primitive church 15 

The first Jesuit pastor to take up his residence at Florissant was 
Father Van Assche. He began to attend the parish in 1829, the first 
baptism there registered by him being dated April 19 of that year. 
At first he resided at the Seminary, walking to the village on Sundays 
to conduct the services and then walking back to the Seminary for 
breakfast, only to return on foot to the church for Vespers. This trying 
routine, which seems to have been insisted upon by Father De Theux, 
when superior of the mission, was done away with m 1832 by the 
Visitor, Father Kenney, and thenceforth Father Van Assche resided at 
Florissant. 16 

The presence of a pastor in their midst did not forthwith awaken 
the village-folk from their spmtual nonchalance. The mission chronicler 
for 1836, after observing that the truth of 'history demands that the 
failures as well as the successes of the ministers of religion be faithfully 
recorded, declares regretfully that the spiritual harvest gathered in at 
St. Charles and St. Ferdinand falls short of the harvest which the 
missionaries are blessed with at stations visited only at rare intervals 
during the year. In 1836 Bishop Rosati confirmed at Dardenne with 
great splendor of ceremonial and display of faith and piety among the 
people. The two following days he confirmed at St. Charles and 
St. Ferdinand, %ut owing to the usual indifference and tepidity of 
the people the same pomp of ceremony and splendor of divine service 
had very few spectators." 17 

In September, 1835, Father De Theux opened a school for boys, 
which was taught by Brother De Meyer. At the same time the Religious 
of the Sacred Heart were providing education for girls, both boarders 
and day-scholars, the school for boys which they opened about 1824 
having apparently been discontinued. Wetmore's Gazetteer of Missouri, 
1837, refers to the boarding-school as "tastefully and beneficially man- 
aged by nuns, whose peculiar fitness for the pursuits to which they 

15 Van Lommel to Dzierozynski, September 20, 1832 (B) 

16 Hill, HistoncA Sketch of the St. Loms University, p 40 

17 Lttterae Annuae, 1836 The annalist deprecates especially the religious indif- 
ference of the male members of the parish, who associate with non-Catholics and 
spend nearly all their lives "rtmerando et n&D^gand^Q " However, Houck, A History 
of Missouri (Chicago, 1908), 2 279, gives a rather favorable view of the morals 
of the French Canadian voyageurs and coureurs des bois, saying that few of them 
drank to excess Alvord adverted to the civic virtues of the early French habitants 
of western America. "Cahokia Records" (Ilhnots Historical Collection*) XIX). 


have devoted themselves has secured to their institution well-deserved 
celebrity " The contemplated withdrawal of the Religious of the Sacred 
Heart from St Ferdinand m 1836 led De Theux to pen a protest to 
Bishop Rosati 

Permit me, Monseigneur, to commend to your consideiation an affair 
of very deep concern to the parish of St Ferdinand Madame Barat, so it 
appears, wishes to suppress the house of her Ladies at St. Ferdinand, but, 
according to what I have been told, she would first know your sentiments 
on the subject I believe it accordingly to be my duty, seeing that the village 
is committed to the care of our Society, to observe to you that the suppression 
of the house would work very serious harm to the village of St. Ferdinand 
unfortunately perverse enough already, and yet destined by its situation to 
develop shortly into a place of importance We should lose beside the prayers 
and good example of these Ladies and the day-school, which they decided to 
keep up regularly for the future and which, together with the boys' school 
that I opened last September, ought to give the Father Missioner a great 
ascendancy over the whole parish In fine, who will keep up the church as 
neatly as they do ? And what will their house be used for if they go ? A 
tavern? I will not insist further Fiat voluntas Dei et swfyenorum 18 

Meantime, religious conditions in the village continued to be un- 
satisfactory as late as 1837. Father De Theux wrote in that year. 

In St. Ferdinand there were twenty-six first communicants, of whom 
three were converts but unhappily, First Communion over, the boys gradu- 
ally leave off, at least m the course of the second year, approaching the 
Holy Table and even hearing Mass. Hence your Reverence may easily draw 
the consequence, unless a miracle of grace takes place I see no means of 
reclaiming these unhappy people. Thank God things go better m every way 
in our other parishes. 19 

The Annual Letters of 1837 corroborate the account given by 
De Theux: 

Florissant m its pioneer days had long been without a resident priest. 
Abuses accordingly crept m and the education of the children was totally 
neglected. People grew to adult and even to extreme old age with scarcely 
a trace of religion about them. Such fathers of families cannot be expected 
to have the religious education of their children at heart. Unless the 
mothers, for the most part pious enough, bring the children to church, the 
bad example of the fathers will spoil them. At the same time all are glad 
enough to receive the last sacraments The reformation of the parish must 
therefore begin with the children. As to the Madames' school, its pupils are 
easily distinguished from the other children by their perseverance in virtue. 

18 De Theux a Rosati, Florissant, March 15, 1836. (C) 

19 De Theux a , Florissant, July 1 6, 1837. (A). 


The school for boys taught by a lay-brother might have more pupils, but 
the families live at a distance from the church, while the children are often 
without decent clothes and are needed for the farm and housework Hence, 
after making their First Communion, they stay at home "God commanded 
of old that Jeremias, the prophet, should stand at the gateway and harangue 
the people, saying to the sons of Israel, 'Hear ye the word of God ' Alas, 
m this place the preachei must needs issue forth from the church and visit 
taverns and houses and even explore the woods to find an audience " 20 

During the period May, 1835, to August, 1836, Father Van Assche 
was pastor at St. Charles, his place at Florissant being taken by Father 
James Busschots, SJ After a stay of fifteen months at St. Charles 
he returned to Florissant, where he remained in charge of the parish 
until April, 1838, when he was called to be rector and master of novices 
at the novitiate. Meantime, the pastorate of St. Ferdinand's passed into 
the hands, first, of Father Victor Padlasson (May, i838-September, 
1838) and then of Father John Gleizal (September, i838-September, 

Under Father Gleizal, who at this period was still a novice, having 
entered the Society as a priest in 1837, St. Ferdinand's parish felt within 
itself the pulsations of a new spiritual life A two weeks' mission 
preached by him and a companion Jesuit in the course of 1838 marked 
the turning-point "Father Gleizal," wrote Bishop Rosati m his diary, 
June 24, 1838, "gave a mission and quite a number returned to the 
practice of religion." Confessions were heard m large numbers and the 
dancing craze (furor chorearum), a typical Creole weakness, subsided 
notably Among the results of the mission was the establishment of a 
Congregation of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as also of a Sodality of the 
Blessed Virgin for the pupils of the convent school. At the reception of 
the sodalists on the first Sunday of Lent Bishop Rosati himself presided 
In 1839 another mission was preached with similar success. In former 

20 Littetae Annuae, 1837 "A critical sense will keep one from making stric- 
tures such as these the basis of unwan anted deductions One can easily understand 
the unfavorable impression made by the parishioners and their nonchalant ways 
upon men like Fathers Van Quickenborne and De Theux, by whom the robust 
religious practice of the Catholic peasantry of their native Belgium was taken 
as a matter of course Circumstances, while not excusing, often palliate the moral 
fault involved m neglect of the Church's commandments, in regard, for example, 
to the reception of the sacraments and attendance at Mass, and it is mainly in 
this connection rather than for serious breaches of morality that the parishioners 
are called to task As regards the social virtues that make for security m life and 
property, for freedom from crime and general civic happiness, Florissant was at 
this period as at others as exemplary a community as could be found in the 
state " Garraghan, St. Ferdinand de Florissant, p. 222. 


years scarcely two hundred made their Easter duty, this year the 
number of Easter communicants reached eight hundred. The Congre- 
gation of Mount Carmel a year after its inception numbered six 
hundred. In 1839 a Lady's chapel was built into the church on the 
southwest side, the five hundred dollars or more needed for its construc- 
tion being contributed by the women-folk of Florissant and St Louis 
Thus did the parish awaken to a new life. As evidence of the increased 
concern of the parishioners for their religious welfare, the annalist 
for 1840 points to the circumstance that when m that year the pastor 
of St. Ferdinand, Father Gleizal, was assigned to the college about 
to be opened in Cincinnati, they were eager to retain his services and 
promptly signed their names to a petition to that effect addressed 
to the vice-provincial. Gleizal was succeeded at St Ferdinand's in 
September, 1 840, by Father James Cottmg. In the following December 
Father Van Assche, who in the meantime had been transferred from 
the rectorship of the novitiate to the post of pastor in Portage des Sioux, 
St. Charles County, Missouri, returned once more to Florissant. Here, 
except for an intervening four-year tenure of the pastorate of St. 
Charles, he remained in charge of St. Ferdinand's parish until his death 
in i877. 21 


Of the Missouri parishes which the Jesuits took over in 1823 that 
of St. Charles was the most considerable St Charles, then a growing 
frontier town on the left bank of the Missouri twenty-one miles from 
its mouth, was founded at some unascertained date by a colony of 
French trappers and traders under the leadership of Louis Blanchette, 
known as Le Chasseur > "the hunter." For some years it went by the 
name of Les Petites Cotes, "The Little Hills," modified later into 
Village des Cotes, the "Village of the Hills," from its location on 
rising ground a short distance back from the Missouri. 22 At least as 
early as 1792 it was known as St. Charles, which name had become 
general by the time of the American occupation in 1 804. As in the case 
of most French and Spanish settlements in America, the religious 
history of the place reaches back quite as far as its civil history. It has 
been conjectured on no very solid grounds that Father Meurm, last 
survivor of the eighteenth-century western Jesuits, exercised his priestly 

21 Ltttera* Annuae, 1 8 3 8, 1 8 3 9, 1 840 (A) 

22 The census of 1787 calls the village "establwnwento de las Pequenas 
Cuestasj* "establishment of the Little Hills " Houck, History of Missouri, 2 80 A 
note of November 7, 1791? at the beginning of the burial register refers to the 
place as "Village de $ f Charles^ paroisse de St. Louis aux Illinois?' Archives of 
St Charles Borromeo Church, St. Charles, Mo 


functions m Les Pentes Cotes. 2 * At a later period Father Gibault, 
"patriot-priest of the West/ 3 in all likelihood included St. Charles in 
the wide-sweeping circuit of his ministry. Then came a succession of 
Capuchins, Fathers Valentine, Hilary or Hilaire de Genevaux, and 
Bernard de Limpach, of whom the first and third resided in St Louis 
but made periodical visits to the outlying posts. During Father de 
Limpach's incumbency, which extended, at least in St Louis, over the 
period 1776-1789, was probably built (c. 1780) the rude structure of 
upright logs that was the first chapel in St. Charles. 24 In 1789 Father 
Le Dru dtt Jacobin succeeded him m the care of the parishes of St 
Louis and the neighborhood. After Le Dru came Father Pierre Joseph 
Didier, the first Benedictine to exercise the ministry m the United States, 
Appointed prefect-apostolic of a vast district, which was to include the 
French colony of GallipoLs on the Ohio River, he retired after a short 
residence at Gallipolis to the West, probably to St. Charles It was 
apparently about the time of Didier's arrival in the West that the com- 
mandant of the village, Blanghette, replaced the first church, built 
some eleven years before, by a new church, also of logs, which stood 
on the west side of Main Street near Tompkms 25 

Before the end of 1793 Didier had shifted his residence to St Louis 
where the withdrawal of Le Dru had left a vacancy m the local 

23 J J Con way, S J , Historical Sketch of the Church and Pansh of St Charles 
BortomeOj St Charles, Mo , 1892, pp 17, 18, discusses the evidence ior Meurm's 
presence at St Charles 

24 Conway, of cit , p 23 

25 Conard (ed ), Encyclopedia of the Htstory of Missouri, 5 421 But the 
church built by Blanchette c 1790 seems to have been only an enlargement 
of the original one Father Verhaegen says in a ms account (A) that Blanchette 
renewed and enlarged the original church three times and that the original church 
was still standing in 1825 Though Didier in the first baptism entered in the 
Florissant register signs himself Cute de St Charles, in the baptismal entries 
immediately following in the same register he signs himself Cwe de Sf Feidmand 
The writer has met with no conclusive evidence that Didier on his arrival m the 
West took up his residence at St Charles and not at Florissant The St. Charles 
Baptismal Register opens with the baptism by Didier of Peter Beland, July 21, 
1792 The first Catholic church in St Charles stood on block 28, between Jackson 
and Tompkms Streets, about twenty-five feet west of Mam Street. The church 
lot, which was a grant from the Spanish civil authorities, measured one hundred 
and sixty by two hundred and seventy feet The cemetery, west of the church 
on the same block, was dedicated December 7, 1789, by Lieut Governor Manuel 

According to Conard, of cit t > 5 422, the Blanchette chapel was of frame 
Verhaegen in his account cited above says distinctly it was of logs. Very probably 
the logs were clapboarded Lot 15 immediately east of Jot 28 and bounded on 
one side by the river was also included m the grant of land made to the Catholics 
of St Charles for church purposes The original grant was confirmed by public 
record, May 18, 1825 


pastorate. In 1798 St. Charles again received a resident pastor in the 
person of the Recollect, Father Leander Lusson. He was to be one 
of the twenty-three priests laboring in Louisiana who preferred to 
retire with the Spanish forces on the cession of that territory to the 
United States After his withdrawal St Charles had no resident priest 
until the arrival there about 1813 of the Trappist, Father Dunand. 
During the nine or ten years that intervened the spiritual needs of the 
village were supplied successively by the visiting priests, Father Max- 
well of Ste Genevieve, Missouri, the Capuchin, Father Thomas Flynn, 
of St Louis, and the Trappists, who from Florissant and later from 
Cahokia Mound in Illinois visited St. Charles during the years 1809- 
1813. Dunand did not accompany the mam body of Trappists on their 
return to the eastern United States in 1813, but took up his residence 
in St. Charles where he remained a year or two, subsequently moving 
to Florissant, from which place he made periodical visits to St Charles. 
Father B Richard was resident pastor there in 1819, retaining this 
charge until about 1822, when he was transferred to Louisiana 

Bishop Du Bourg, when he first came to St Louis, which was in 
1818, thought St. Charles had a great future before it. "He put before 
us," said Mother Duchesne in August of that year, "the great advan- 
tages possessed by St Charles, which he expects will become one of 
the most important cities of North America, as it is situated on the 
Missouri River whose banks become daily more populated and which 
is about to give the name to a new state of the Union." The following 
month Mother Duchesne was writing from St Charles in a similar 
strain "The Bishop, whose gaze is ever on the distant future, considers 
this place as important, since it is the largest village on the Missouri 
and some miles from the junction of this river with the Mississippi. 
The Americans, who flock here from the East and are a restless people, 
hope that St Charles will be a great link of commerce between the 
United States and China, because the Upper Missouri is near another 
river which flows into the Pacific Ocean at a place whence the crossing 
to Asia by sea takes only two weeks." This dream of commercial great- 
ness for St. Charles never came true and the place is today less impor- 
tant relatively than it was in the days of Bishop Du Bourg and Mother 
Duchesne 26 

The first Jesuit to officiate in St. Charles, apart from Father Meurm, 
whose connection with the place is highly problematical, was Father 
Peter Timmermans, who attended the place from Florissant two Sun- 
days every month. He baptized for the first time in St. Charles on 
July 29, 1823, William Manly being the recipient of the sacrament. 

2e Erskme, Duchesne, pp 166, 180. 


On January 19, 1824, he married Jean Baptiste Magdelame and 
Susanne Corbeille On Sunday, May 30, 1824, after conducting services 
in Blanchette's little chapel, Timmermans returned ill and exhausted 
to Florissant and on the next day was dead. The only Catholic priest 
now remaining in the immense territory west of St. Louis, Father Van 
Quickenborne, heard confessions and baptized twice a month at St. 
Charles and Portage des Sioux, not, however, on Sundays but on a 
week day. As a consequence, for almost eighteen months or until the 
ordination in 1826 of Fathers Verhaegen and Smedts, the people of 
these two parishes were without Sunday Mass. During the interval 
Messrs. Verhaegen and Elet, not yet priests, took turns in visiting 
St Charles on Sundays, where they recited the Mass-prayers in French 
and delivered a short instruction to the congregation. Baptisms and 
funeral rites were often performed by laymen, while as for sick calls 
Van Quickenborne held himself in readiness to answer every sum- 
mons 27 Ordained to the priesthood in March, 1826, Father Verhaegen 
was immediately assigned as visiting missionary to the parishes of St 
Charles and of Portage des Sioux and to three stations besides. His new 
duties were neither light nor pleasant. To cross the Missouri in a fragile 
skiff and ride over the country sometimes for a distance of thirty miles 
in answer to a sick call was an experience which he found it hard, so he 
declared, to describe adequately in words. In a letter to the Father 
General, Van Quickenborne sets forth the reasons why two of the 
young Jesuits shortly to be ordained should be stationed at St. 

From a letter of Rev. Father Superior I infer that our scholastics, who 
are now theologians of the fourth year, are to be 01 clamed about the end 
of the year. I venture again earnestly to beg your Very Reverend Paternity, 
as I have done before, to allow two of our men to be placed at St Charles 
St Charles is a town situated on the left bank of the Missouri River, nearly 
all the inhabitants being Catholics There are three other congregations at 
a distance of 10 or 12 miles from St Charles. These congregations contain 
about 300 souls Our seminary is situated off at one extremity, we are sepa- 
rated by a river, the roads are very bad for six months of the year and it is 
dangerous to cross the river At St. Charles we are in the center with respect 
to the other congregations A church will be built, the pew-rent will amply 

27 For data on Catholicism in St Charles prior to the advent of the Jesuits 
cf Conway's above-cited monograph The burial-register of St Charles Borromeo's 
Church records burials conducted by laymen between August 2 and November 7, 
1824 In 1824 Father Van Quickenborne had contracts at fifteen dollars a year 
with. Pierre Le Compte and Louis Bordeau (Borda), the latter of St. Charles, by 
which they engaged to ferry him across the Missouri m his ministerial trips, 
which service they were also to render to all such as had to cross the river to 
summon a priest. 


suffice for the support of two priests and from this place, furthermore, the 
smaller congregations to be organized can be visited from time to time. The 
priests now lose all their time m making trips to bring the sacraments to the 
sick, and also rum their health for they often have to go through deep water 
For the same reason the children in those families cannot be properly in- 
structed The people complain that they have to come so far to call us for 
the sick and crossing the river makes these trips expensive both for them 
and us 28 

As to the spiritual condition of St. Charles at this period, both 
Mother Duchesne and Father Verhaegen are one in deploring the 
careless, irregular ways of the townsfolk. The holy nun was shocked 
during her first stay in the place at the sight of drunken Indians, with 
their starving squaws and children, and of dissolute women parading 
the streets. The mixed bloods united in themselves the frailties of both 
races. The Creoles were nonchalant and pleasure-seeking, often leaving 
their children unbaptized and without religious instruction. "A few 
years ago," Mother Duchesne wrote m 1819, "the scenes this country 
presented resembled the Bacchanalian orgies of pagan days. Men and 
girls spent their time m dancing and drinking whiskey. Now appear- 
ances are improved, but the lives they live are as immoral as those of 
the savages." 29 "I do not hear regularly more than twenty confessions 
a month," wrote Father Verhaegen m 1827, at a time when the Catholic 
population of St. Charles was about five hundred, "and I do not see 
how, without a change m circumstances, this number will increase. The 
French spend the spring, summer and fall on the nver, finding thus 
their only means of support. During their absence, their wives almost 
perish of hunger and are often without decent dress, while the children 
are in a miserable state. When the voyageurs return, a mass of debts 
contracted during their absence has to be paid. I am convinced it will 
require a miracle for our missionaries to gather in anything like a spirit- 
ual harvest. For if, according to the old saw, occasion makes the thief, 
here navigation makes the devil. There are few men of genuine piety 
m this locality. So general indeed is the corruption among the river- 
men, that there is little room left for the good seed." 30 Even in 1836, 
thirteen years after the arrival of the Jesuits, the Annual Letters deplore 

28 Van Quickenborne ad Fortis, October 24, 1826 (AA). 

29 Baunard, Duchesne^ p 182. 

50 Verhaegen ad Dzierozynski, Florissant, November 7, 1827 (B) Verhaegen's 
account of the loose morals of the voyageurs or river-men finds corroboration m 
other sources. Thus John M Peck, New Guide for Emigrants m the West 
(Boston, 1836) "The boatmen were proverbially lawless at every town and landing 
and indulged without restraint m every species of dissipation, debauchery, and 
excess." See, however, for a different estimate, Houck, History of Missouri, 2- 279, 
cited sup-a, note 17 


the fact that the ministry of the fathers in St Charles results in a 
smaller spiritual harvest than those gathered in remote stations, which 
they visit only at intervals during the year. The perverse disposition of 
the inhabitants is assigned as the chief cause of this spiritual barrenness 
The men spend their time "in journeys by land and water" (itmerando 
et nawgando}. The preaching of a mission, especially in the winter, 
when the men are home, is suggested as a thing which may bring them 
to their senses, though unfortunately no such remedy can be applied on 
account of the small number of the fathers. 

Among the means employed by the Jesuit pastors to raise the level 
of Catholic life in St. Charles was the erection of a new church Blan- 
chette's log chapel, which stood near the corner of Main and Tompkins 
Streets and was the second Catholic church in the town, dated from 
about 1792 When Father Timmermans began to hold services in it in 
1823, it was falling to pieces as were also the parish-churches of Portage 
des Sioux and Dardenne, though the last two were of comparatively 
recent construction. The poverty of the early settlers, Van Quickenborne 
commented in explanation of the fragile character of their early 
churches, did not permit of their erecting more solid and lasting struc- 
tures The scholastic Van Assche wrote to his friend, De Nef, in Sep- 
tember, 1825: 

The churches of St Charles and Portage, to put the matter as briefly and 
accurately as possible, are barns, not of stone but of wood, without founda- 
tion of any kind except a few stones placed under the joists to keep them 
from rotting . . . Our Superior has begun to make preparations for a new 
chuich of brick, but being still alone, he has so much to do that it will take 
him long to finish it, for the church will have to be built with alms, which 
at present he has not time to beg It is, however, a real necessity as we fear 
that some fine day the old church will come down on our heads I do not 
think that Messrs Verhaegen and Elet will preach m it during the winter 
on account of the cold, for the windows are now without glass 31 

Early in January, 1825, Van Quickenborne signified to Bishop 
Rosati his desire to build a new church at St Charles: 

If I receive money from Europe, as I expect, I shall buy m the town 
of St. Charles a piece of property nine acres m extent, together with the 
house in which the Ladies of the Sacred Heart formerly resided In that 
case I will build a church there and lease the land on which the old church 
now stands, if your Lordship approves the plan and the parishioners con- 

31 Van Assche a De Nef, September, 1825 (A). 

32 Van Quickenborne a Rosati, January 9, 1825 (C). 


Some weeks later Van Quickenborne was able to report to the 
Bishop that the consent of the parishioners to his new plan had been 

I have the pleasure of informing you that at a parish-meeting in St 
Charles the trustees and all ptesent named me sole administrator of the 
property of the church, to lease or rent it, the income to go to the cure, 
without there being any trustees in the future The materials of the old 
church will be utilized m the construction of the new one, which will be 
built on ground belonging to Mme. Mane Louise Duquette and purchased 
by me They have all promised to subscribe. The church will be in bnck 
or stone 70 feet long and 40 feet wide May the Lord bring this to pass 
I propose to go today to get their subscnptions 33 

Not long after his ordination to the priesthood in 1826 Father 
Verhaegen was commissioned by Father Van Quickenborne to super- 
intend the building of the new church at St Charles, a task which he 
took in hand without delay. The circumstances attending the erection 
of this, the third Catholic church in St. Charles, which before the build- 
ing of Bishop Rosati's new cathedral was reputed the most imposing 
sacred edifice in the diocese of St. Louis, are set down in an English 
narrative by Father Verhaegen 

The old church made of logs was much too small for the Catholics 
and so nckety that it was unsafe to sit on the floor, which was rotten, and 
neither the roof nor walls could protect the interior from the rain and snow 
The necessity of constructing a new church was of course most urgent. But 
how could the means be raised? The Catholic families, mostly French, were 
poor and we were equally so Rev. Father Van Quickenborne, full of con- 
fidence in Providence, called a meeting of the Catholic families He re- 
minded them of the ruinous condition of their church and promised them 
to purchase a site for a new one on condition that they would cede to him 
the ground granted by the Spanish Government for church purposes at St 
Charles, and contnbute their respective mite towards the erection of the 
new sacred edifice. This proposition being accepted and carried into effect, 
he purchased the eligible property where the church now stands. The work 
of the building, to be eighty by forty feet exclusive of the Sacristy, was soon 

33 Van Quickenborne a Rosati, February 28, 1825 (C) Mane Louise Duquette 
conveyed to Father Van Quickenborne four squares or nine arpents which, her 
husband, Francois Duquette, had acquired by grant from the Spanish Commandant, 
Zenon Trudeau, December 22, 1795 This property, now city blocks 64, 65, 94, 
95, is bounded by Second, Fourth, Clark, and Decatur Streets On the Second Street 
frontage of the property, about midway between Clark and Decatur Streets, Van 
Quickenborne built his stone church, which faced the river Adjoining the church 
on the south the Religious of the Sacred Heart built their second convent in 
St. Charles 


after commenced. The Catholics and even many of the Protestant popula- 
tion made contributions in money and time and labor, but their combined 
subsidies did not amount to one thousand dollars, and the church was to cost 
upwards of five thousand Strange to say the money came in proportion as 
it was needed, and in 1828 it was so far ready that it admitted of the divine 
service being celebrated within its walls and being solemnly dedicated by the 
Right Reverend Bishop Rosati Whence Father Van Quickenborne received 
the funds is a secret, but it is supposed that he devoted to this undertaking 
a considerable portion of his patrimony, and was much aided by Belgian 
benefactors, so that he was enabled to pay off all the debts he had contracted. 
While the building was progressing towards completion he purchased a lot 
with a two story frame building situated on the banks of the river and about 
two hundred and fifty steps from the hill on which the church stands. 34 This 
dwelling was paitially at least prepared for the dwelling of two of our 
Fathers The disagreeable mission of Father Verhaegen was brought to an 
end and he returned to the house of St. Stanislaus 35 

It needed a man of Verhaegen's resourcefulness to overcome the 
difficulties that beset the building of what was for that period so elabo- 
rate a structure. First, there was the question of funds, to secure which 
he begged m St Louis, collecting in one day sixty dollars. He "cast 
aside all timidity/ 3 so he wrote to the Maryland superior, with the added 
comment, "these and similar experiences are a poor missionary's recrea- 
tion and delight" Governor Miller of Missouri, then residing at St 
Charles, the seat of the state government, subscribed ten dollars with 

34 "All the consultors thought it was better to buy a house at St. Charles for 
Ours than to build one In consequence, I bought one through Father Verhaegen 
The house was examined by men of the profession They said it was built of the 
best of materials, well framed and the mason's work in good order Stone wall 
three feet above ground all around The under story is plastered, the upper story 
is not finished, for it is only eight or nine years since it was built Lot is 150 x 60 
or 70, title indisputable, (and such is the one of the college lot ) It stands opposite 
the new church and is not farther from it than the old college [Georgetown] is 
from the house where Father De Theux used to live It cost $300 I have paid 
them. The house has six rooms and a very fine garret " Van Quickenborne to 
Dzierozynski, November 27, 1827 (B) July 25, 1828, Van Quickenborne ac- 
quired two strips of property making a frontage of one hundied and thirty-three 
feet on Mam Street and running back three hundred feet to the Missouri River 
between Lewis and Decatur Streets This tract (city block 6) apparently included 
the lot of which Van Quickenborne speaks in his letter cited above In later years 
a house and school, both of brick, were built on the property. The priests' house 
stood about twenty feet from the curb of Mam Street and ten feet from the 
line of Lewis The school, twenty-five by sixty, stood on the N W corner of the 
same block The site of both priests' house and school was later covered by the shops 
of the American Car and Foundry Company. 


a promise of more 36 Besides the collection of funds, there was the 
problem of securing labor for the completion of the work. Verhaegen, 
physically robust man that he was, worked with his own hands on the 
construction The Jesuits were indeed to a great extent their own archi- 
tects, masons and builders 3T The difficulties that are wont to hamper 
building operations in our own day were not unknown to Verhaegen, 
who wrote to Father Dzierozynski November 7, 1827: 

The church is to be roofed in a few days. No one who has never gone 
through the experience would believe how beset with difficulties is building 
in the State of Missouri. Now one is without workingmen, now without 
wagons, now without materials. I bespeak a stock of patience for one who 
undertakes a similar task in the future. When I think, however, how much 
this little church is going to do for this town, ad majorem Dei glonam, I 
make light of past unpleasantnesses and by anticipation rise superior to those 
which are to come. 

The energetic pastor witnessed at length the completion of his task 
The church, begun in 1826 and roofed in 1827, was ready for occu- 
pancy in the fall of i828. 38 "It was built of stone and was very beauti- 
ful for the place. The fagade was of cut stone, surmounted by a pretty 
cornice, which rested upon four handsome pilasters. The structure was 

36 Verhaegen ad Dzierozynski, Florissant, November 7, 1827 (B). In the 
fall of 1827 Bishop Rosati made his first episcopal visitation of St Charles The 
old church on Mam Street was renovated for the occasion and the walls decorated 
with scrolls and scripture texts The Bishop administered confirmation to seventy- 
two persons, some of them adults Verhaegen ad Dzierozynski, Florissant, Novem- 
ber 27, 1827 (B) 

37 Baunard, of. at , p. 293 Patrick McKay and Hugh O'Neil, the latter 
the builder of Bishop Du Bourg's cathedral in St Louis, had contracts with Van 
Quickenborne for part construction of the church. 

38 Even as late as March, 1828, Van Quickenborne was in doubt whether the 
church could be finished before the end of that year "They have begun to work 
on the church at St Charles, but I don't know whether it can be finished even 
this year unless aid comes from some quarter." Van Quickenborne a Rosati, Floris- 
sant, March 22, 1828 (C) The cost of the church was reckoned by Van Quick- 
enborne at $6455 and was met as follows 

Contributions in cash from the Missouri Mission $3597 

" " " " " laity 85800 

Money value of labor rendered by the fathers 150000 

" " " " " " parishioners 50000 

A munificent donation from friends of the Missouri Mission in France came at 
an opportune moment through Father Godmot, a French Jesuit "I received the 
$155900," Van Quickenborne wrote to Dzierozynski, November 17, 1828, "just 
at the moment that I closed up the accounts of the church at St Charles There- 
fore there is a fine and solidly built church and a fine house bought, and no debts, 
but $272 oo ahead" (B). Cf , however, the letter cited below of Van Quicken- 
borne to Fortis, December 3, 1828. 


eighty feet long, forty wide and twenty-nine feet high, and the only 
church in the diocese which was plastered." a9 

On September i Father Van Quickenborne requested Bishop Rosati 
to fix a day for the consecration 

The two paintings together with the precious gift of the body of the 
holy martyr Adeodatus reached us safely The paintings will make a fine 
appearance They will be abiding tokens of your kindness and of the obliga- 
tions we are under in your regard. I have delayed writing to you so as to 
have the pleasure of announcing to you that the church of St Charles will, 
without fail, be ready for consecration four weeks from now, the workmen 
tell us two or three weeks. The old church will be moved today and placed 
alongside our house where it will seive as a school Fathers Smedts and 
Verreydt will be stationed at St Chailes and open there a free school foi 
externs, in which Brother Henry [Reiselman] will teach catechism, reading, 
writing, grammai, arithmetic and some little geography P S We should 
be pleased to have your Lordship fix the day for the consecration so that we 
may be able to publish it at least two weeks in advance 40 

The consecration of the new edifice by Bishop Rosati, October 12, 
1828, was celebrated with all the splendor of ceremonial the infant 
church m the West could command. Nine priests from the various 
missions, two seminarians, six Jesuit lay-brothers and a large concourse 
of the laity were in attendance. Mother Duchesne, who was present 
with Mothers Berthold, Mathevon and O'Connor, was deeply im- 
pressed with the event and sent news of it to Bishop Du Bourg in 

On the 1 2th of October, the day your Lordship appointed to honor the 
Holy Angels, I assisted for the first time in my life at the consecration of 
a church It was that of St. Charles, built by the Jesuits, who have consumed 
in its erection all the funds which they had received for their own support 
It looks upon the Missouri and is built upon the site of your former garden, 
and just over the spot, from which you helped with your episcopal hands 
to pull up a young sapling. Mgr [Rosati] perfoimed the ceremony, assisted 
by all the Jesuits, two Lazansts and several young seminarians. Fathers 
De Theux and Dusaussoy preached, one in English and the other in French, 
to a vast concourse before the church door. I never saw so grand a spec- 
tacle Your beautiful dalmatics were used on the occasion The following 
day his Lordship confirmed sixty-six persons, and preached with wonder- 
ful fruit among the Protestants who listened to him 41 

**Awi. Prof, 4 582 

4:0 Van Quickenborne a Rosati, Florissant, September I, 1828. (C) 
4:1 Ann. Ptof, 3 572 Father Dusaubsoy was a nephew of St Madeleine 
Sophie Barat, foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart, 


With the idea, as he avowed, that his success at St. Charles with 
nothing to begin on might lead the Father General to authorize him 
to begin the long-delayed mission among the Indians, Father Van 
Quickenborne informed Father Fortis of what had been accomplished 

At St. Charles we have the prettiest church in the whole diocese. It is 
made of cut stone . , . and is the first and only consecrated church in this 
diocese It is built on our property and everything is ours The Trustees 
have no claim to it They exercise their duties, but dependently on us in all 
things The place is very healthy Across from the church we have a roomy 
house, the finest in the whole city Next to this house and also on our 
property, a school-building has been put up With the consent of Rev. Father 
Superior I have stationed there two Fathers and one Brother. . No doubt 
it will not be unpleasant news for your Paternity to hear how Divine Provi- 
dence came to our aid When we began we did not have a penny. I bought 
the very large piece of property on which the church is built On returning 
home the same day from St Charles, I found on my table almost the full 
amount of money needed to pay for the property. Of course I knew where 
it came from I let the contract for the building of the church and again I 
received on the same day a good sum of money as I also did still again from 
France and Belgium When the work was all finished, I found on casting 
up my accounts that I was $1222 m debt and just at that very time the 
Bishop came with the news that he was going to receive exactly that sum 
from France from the Society of the Propagation of the Faith instituted there 
under the auspices of our illustrious benefactor, Bishop Du Bourg 42 

With the completion of the church Father Verhaegen retired to 
Florissant, and on August 15, 1828, Father John Baptist Smedts was 
installed as the first superior of the St. Charles residence. Some subse- 
quent incidents of interest in the parish are detailed by Verhaegen in 
his manuscript narrative: 

Fathers J. B. Smedts and Felix Verreydt were the first permanently 
stationed at the St. Charles Residence. The former attended the St. Charles 
congregation, and the latter was principally employed in visiting the remote 
missionary stations, being absent on sacerdotal duty, at a distance of from 
twelve to twenty miles from home, during several weeks many times in 
the year Father Smedts with most laudable zeal perfected by degrees what 
had been commenced at St. Charles He improved the interior of the dwell- 
ing by providing it with decent furniture and he made a handsome vegetable 
garden, embellished by the planting of fruit trees and flowers in many spe- 
cies In process of time, after causing the usual pews to be made and elegantly 
painted, he adorned the altar by having stately pillars erected three on each 
side to support a wooden architrave and super-structure in the center of 
which a radiating black polished plate contains the word, Jehovah, in gilded 

42 Van Quickenborne ad Fortis, December 3, 1828. (AA). 


Hebrew letters He also caused a beautiful pulpit and baptismal fount to be 
constructed and among other improvements which it would be too long to 
mention, he procured an excellent organ. The logs of the old church were 
conveyed to the lot where the dwelling stands, and with them were made 
two apartments, one to serve for a kitchen, and the other for a school room 
The school from that time on until now has been generally taught by one 
of our Lay-brothers Father Van Quickenborne saw the necessity of providing 
for the religious education of the girls of the parish. Having obtained three 
members of the Society of the Sacred Heart, he gave them the use of the 
large but old frame house which stood on the north of the rear of the church, 
and there they commenced their humble but useful labors With his usual 
energy he soon after commenced collecting means for the construction of a 
large two-story brick building, and when ready, he made over to them not 
only the building but enough ground necessary for a flower garden m front, 
a spacious vegetable garden by the side and an extensive garden in the rear, 
and adjoining to it an orchard and a field of about two acres. To the first 
building the Ladies of the Sacred Heart afterwards added another two-story 
brick building, connecting their establishment on the south with the sanc- 
tuary of the Church. Their community has increased to twelve members, 
their boarders are upwards to forty in number and their day scholars have 
averaged almost from the beginning sixty per year To their care, under 
God, must be ascribed in a great measure the existence of the pious mothers 
of pious female children that are found in the parish and as they take care 
of the cleanliness of the church and sacristy, they have considerably promoted 
the beauty of the house of God. 

In 1828 the Religious of the Sacred Heart had resumed their work 
in St. Charles after an interruption of nine years. Mother Duchesne, 
then at Florissant, records m her journal, March 25, 1828, that Father 
Van Quickenborne, just prior to his departure for his second excursion 
to the Osage, sent her a deed of donation of the house formerly occupied 
by the nuns at St. Charles, which he had recently bought for them, and 
which he now invited them to occupy. 43 The Mother General, St. 
Madeleine Sophie Barat, anxious over the unpromising outlook for her 
society in France, accepted the invitation. She wrote, June 6, 1828, to 
Mother Duchesne- "We are threatened with great calamities. In case 
they overtake us, we shall send you subjects. This is an additional reason 
for accepting St. Charles." On June 15 Bishop Rosati, Father Van 

43 Baunard, of tit., p 293 The house and "two lots" deeded to the Religious 
of the Sacred Heart by Father Van Quickenborne were purchased m the first 
instance with money furnished by them for the purpose, so he informed his 
superior in the East. Hence there was no question of a donation in the proper 
sense of the term. The real nature of the transaction, however, remains somewhat 
obscure Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, August 10, 1826. (B). 


Quickenborne, sand Mother Duchesne met in St Charles to arrange 
for the opening of the new residence. In October Mothers Berthold 
and Mathevon of St Louis joined Mother Duchesne at Florissant, 
whence the three nuns proceeded to St. Charles in company with Bishop 
Rosati and his party, which included Van Quickenborne with some 
other Jesuits, and three diocesan priests On the twelfth of the month 
the Bishop consecrated the church and on the Sunday following he 
blessed the new home of the nuns. 44 

In 1833 Van Quickenborne, while superior of the St. Charles resi- 
dence, undertook to collect funds for a new building of brick to replace 
the old one of frame which the Religious of the Sacred Heart had 
been occupying since their return to St Charles in 1828 Father Verhae- 
gen said in a letter "Our good Father Van Quickenborne is stationed at 
St Charles. He is active as a bee Madame Lucille's building is going to 
rack and rum and he is determined not to prop it. He will have another 
house for this very useful community." 45 In August of the following 
year, Van Quickenborne acknowledged to Bishop Rosati the receipt of 
fifty Mass stipends to go to the building of the new convent: "They 
arrived just in time for we hadn't money enough to pay the bill for 
the scantlings. We now have the brick on the ground and have the 
lime, sand, boards and large timber all paid for. I have been danger- 
ously ill for a week and have not succeeded yet in throwing off a little 
fever, which seems to be quite malignant." 46 

The building of a new convent at St. Charles now raised the ques- 
tion whether colored girls might be admitted as boarders in the insti- 
tution. In September, 1834, Van Quickenborne, on behalf of the nuns, 
laid the matter before the Bishop. 

[Rev ] Mr. D'hauw, cure of Natchitoches, offers to do all he can to 
send some colored girls to the convent of St. Charles, and according to what 
he says and what Father Elet has told me, there is no doubt that he can 
succeed m getting them in numbers large enough to fill the house of Madame 
Lucille [Mathevon]. I take the liberty of proposing the question to your 
Lordship would it be prudent to receive them and shall the offer be ac- 
cepted? Madame Lucille desires nothing better. Madame Eugenie [Aude], 
when she was here, gave her approval (but she made no definite arrange- 
ments as regards St Charles) Madame Lucille assures me that Madame 
Barat will send some subjects and a little money. If the colored girls come, 
there will be no question of getting any white girls The house would be 
exclusively for the former. However, the school for day pupils could be 
kept up separately. Moreover, they say you can scarcely notice anything 

44 Baunard, of. ctt , pp 293, 294. 

45 Verhaegen to McSherry, October 16, 1833. (B). 

46 Van Quickenborne a Rosati, August 7, 1834. ( C )- 


peculiar about these girls, as mulattoes have veiy little color. Your Lord- 
ship's decision in the matter will relieve me of some embarrassment. 47 

The education of colored girls by the nuns was not attempted, prob- 
ably because Bishop Rosati did not lend his approval or because more 
mature consideration of the plan showed it to be impracticable. The 
Religious of the Sacred Heart, having thus resumed educational work 
in St Charles, where they had opened their first American house in 
1818, have continued it there down to our own day 

Among the contributions made by Van Quickenborne to the progress 
of Catholic education was the opening of a parish school in St Charles, 
probably the first west of the Mississippi Catholic primary education in 
Missouri is of eighteenth-century origin St. Louis since 1774 had its 
private elementary school, for all purposes a Catholic institution, which 
as late as 1818, when Bishop Du Bourg opened his academy, was still 
under the management of its first teacher, Jean Baptiste Truteau. 48 The 
Religious of the Sacred Heart opened in St Charles in 1818, besides 
an academy and boarding school, a free school for girls At Florissant, 
whither they removed in 1819, they had in 1824 two free schools in 
operation, one for girls and the other for boys About this same period 
the Jesuit scholastics, then pursuing their divinity studies at the Semi- 
nary, appear to have conducted something like grammar-school classes 
for the boys of Florissant. Wrote Mr. Van Assche m September, 1825 
"Only three of us can attend the High Mass on Sundays, two to teach 
catechism and conduct the Sunday School and one to accompany the 
Indians. The Sunday School which is taught by two of our number 
is free to all the lads of the village on all Sundays and feast days of 
the year. Instruction is there given in reading, writing etc." 

A free school for boys as an adjunct to the new church of St. Charles 
was a project long cherished by Father Van Quickenborne. Now that 
the church was finished, he solicited from Father Dzierozynski permis- 
sion to open the school, at the same time suggesting Brother Henry 
Reiselman as a suitable teacher. 49 Brother Reiselman was a member 
of the pioneer Jesuit group that came to Missouri in 1823. He had 
belonged to the migratory Trappist community settled in 1809 in 
Florissant, but had withdrawn from it at Cahokia Mound and made his 
way to Maryland, where he became a Jesuit. Under his direction, 
accordingly, the parish school of St. Charles Borromeo opened its doors 

47 Van Quickenborne a Rosati, September II, 1834 (C). 

48 J. Thomas Scharf, History of St Loms and County (Philadelphia, 1883), 
I 823 

49 September i, 1828, Van Quickenborne informed Bishop Rosati that Brother 
Reiselman was to teach in the proposed school. 


with some thirty-five pupils It was in successful operation as early as 
November, 1829, according to a report made by Van Quickenborne to 
the Maryland superior 

Our deaiest Bi other Henry began to be troubled again with his old 
complaint, so that he was unable to teach the boys This lasted, I think, 
three months, during which time the Brother was with us at Florissant 
Father Verreydt thought himself unqualified to teach the boys English If 
the school had been interrupted, all of the boys would have gone over to the 
Protestant teacher or preacher I ordered him to teach He obeyed with 
alacrity to the great satisfaction of the pupils, and their remarkable progress 
Now our good and zealous brother is restored to health. The average daily 
attendance of his school is never less than twenty-six 50 

Father Van Quickenborne, touching on the situation in Portage des 
Sioux in 1829, expressed his mind to the Maryland superior on the sub- 
ject of Catholic elementary schools After saying that the people in 
Portage desire the same advantages as those enjoyed by St Charles, 
to wit, a new church, a community of nuns, a school and a resident 
pastor, he proceeds: 

All of our Fatheis are of the opinion that schools like Brother Henry's 
are of the greatest importance, and without them the young in this poor 
region cannot be raised Catholics Father De Theux has urged me almost 
to vexation to arrange with you for a school at Florissant, which I should 
like to do by all means, but cannot without your permission In Portage two 
priests with a Brother for the school could subsist. Two Fathers in St 
Charles would visit the panshes in Missouri, and two in Portage the parishes 
on the Mississippi There are Irishmen who could be admitted as brothers 
among you and sent here after their novitiate to teach school These schools 
would be for the smaller, the colleges for the larger boys, and all the youths 
would be instructed I saw somewhere in the history of the Society that one 
of our Generals declared this to be in accordance with the spirit of the 
Institute. 51 

The success of the parish school at St. Charles encouraged the 
fathers to open a similar school in Florissant in 1835. These two 
institutions, the first, taught by Brother Michael Hoey with an attend- 
ance of forty pupils, and the second, by Brother Cornelius O'Leary 

50 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, November 13, 1829 (B) Ann Prop, 
5 574 The new school-house at St Charles was not quite finished in November, 
1828. It was a "bolid frame building" thirty-five by twenty-five feet and one 
and a half stories high Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, November 17, 
1828 (B) 

51 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, November 13, 1829 (B). 


with an attendance of twenty, were, it would seem, the only parochial 
schools for boys in 1836 in the diocese of St. Louis 52 

With the building of the new church, the opening of the parish 
school, the return of the Religious of the Sacred Heart and the resump- 
tion of their educational work, religious conditions m St Charles began 
to improve. At Christmas, 1829, there were one hundred and fifty com- 
municants. "A great part of the good done there/' Father Van Quicken- 
borne reported to Bishop Rosati, "must, under God, be attributed to 
the schools." 53 


The physical aspect of the region in the vicinity of St. Charles in 
Missouri points to the fact that at one time the Mississippi and the 
Missouri Rivers met much closer to that town than is the case today, 
the junction of the two streams having since gradually shifted to its 
present position. As a result of this change there has been left between 
the two river-channels a long narrow strip of land, the soil of which, 
ever since man began to cultivate it, has been notably fertile. The view 
that may be obtained of this low-lying bottom-land from the two conical 
mounds which rise on the outskirts of St. Charles and were named by 
the fanciful Creoles Les Mcmelles or "The Breasts" is one of panoramic 
sweep and beauty. Mention of it is frequent in early gazetteers and 
books of travel. Timothy Flint, Protestant clergyman and author of 
frontier travel-books, who resided m St. Charles before 1820, wrote of 
it. "Here is presented an imposing view of the course of the Mississippi 
and Missouri rivers with their bluffs and towering cliffs, their ancient 
meandering banks, the Marais Croche lake, the mouth of the Illinois 
river and the vast prairie dotted here and there with farm-houses." 54 
According to a standard gazetteer of the thirties, a traveller in the 
West who did not visit the Mamelles was considered "unfashionable." 55 

On the right bank of the Mississippi in the tongue of land between 
that river and the Missouri and about twelve miles northeast of St. 
Charles is located the village of Portage des Sioux. Eight miles below on 
the opposite or Illinois side of the great waterway is the town of Alton 

52 Cathohc Almanac, 1836. Cf also Ann. Ptop, 8 285. 

53 Van Qmckenborne a Rosati, January 5, 1830 (C) Between 1827 and 1839 
there were three hundred and forty first communions and three hundred and 
eighty confirmations in St Charles. As late as 1839 preaching was both in French 
and English, while there was a German sermon once or twice a month. 

54 Flint, Ten Years Residence in the Mississt-pp Valley 

155 Cf Alphonso Wetmore, Gazetteer of Missouri (St Louis, 1837), P 2 49> 
for a description of the Mamelles A glowing account of the country between 
St Charles and Portage des Sioux may also be read in Flagg (Thwaites [ed ], 
Early Western Travels, XXVI, 272 et seq ) 


while a few miles below Alton the Missouri empties its muddy tide into 
the Mississippi Originally a Creole settlement. Portage des Sioux came 
to lose most of its Creole characteristics, American, German and Irish 
settlers having supplanted to a great extent the pioneer stock. Tradition 
connects the name of the place with an incident of early Indian war- 
fare. A band of Sioux, who were at war with the Missouri, having come 
down the Mississippi in their canoes on a pillaging expedition, the latter 
lay in ambush at the mouth of the Missouri River expecting the 
invaders would pass that point. But the Sioux by a clever manoeuver 
landed on the site of Portage, carried their canoes across the narrow 
tongue of land, a distance of about two miles, launched them in the 
Missouri, descended it and surprised the Missouri Indians in the rear. 
The attack met with success and the Sioux laden with spoils returned, 
as they had come, by way of Portage The date of the occurrence, 
if indeed it be historical, cannot be ascertained, though it has been placed 
shortly before the founding of St. Louis in 1764. 

The village of Portage des Sioux dates from the early spring of 1799 
when Francois Saucier at the instance of Lieutenant-Governor Trudeau 
had the village laid out and fixed his residence therein with a colony 
of Creoles, who secured land grants from the Spanish authorities. 
Frangois Saucier, who had been a resident of St. Charles, was appointed 
commandant of the new post, a position he held until the cession of 
Louisiana to the United States. 56 His daughter, Birgitte, whose birth 
took place in 1800, was the first white child born in the settlement. 57 
Few data concerning Catholicity in Portage during the period prior to 
the arrival of the Jesuits are available. The first church, a rude wooden 
structure, was built in 1813 or more probably some years later, appar- 
ently through the efforts of Father Dunand, the Trappist pastor of 
Florissant. Father Gabriel Richard, the well-known pioneer priest of 
Michigan, visited Portage m 1821 subsequent to a stay of some days 
in Chicago, whither he had gone on behalf of the Potawatomi Indians 
to take part in the treaty proceedings under General Cass. Wishing to 
return to Detroit, but hearing that no boat would leave Chicago for that 
point before forty or fifty days, he determined to make the journey by 
way of the Illinois, Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. "I hoped to reach 
Detroit sooner by this route than by waiting for a boat. They sometimes 
descend the Illinois river in six or seven days 5 it took me seventeen and 
I arrived at Portage des Sioux only on October 4 at eight in the 
morning. I found there an excellent missionary, an Italian Lazarist, 
M. Acquarom, who made me sing High Mass and preach the panegyric 

56 Houck, Missouri, 2 89* 

57 Conard, Encyclofedia of the History of Missouri, 5. 195 Elliott Lusby was 
the first white child born in Portage according to Houck, of. at , 2 91. 


of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron, I believe, of his newly erected 
church ?" 58 

Immediately on their arrival at St. Ferdinand the Jesuits assumed 
charge of the congregation at Portage The first baptism they adminis- 
tered there was that of Francois Rive, on June 13, 1823. The officiating 
priest was Father Timmermans, who on the same day married John C. 
Evans and Therese Saucier. Timmermans during the single year of his 
ministry in Missouri said Mass at Portage every other Sunday. After 
his colleague's death Van Quickenborne was accustomed to visit the 
place once a month on some day other 'than Sunday, so that the congre- 
gation was left without Sunday Mass until Father Smedts, the first 
Jesuit ordained in Missouri, was able to serve it, first from the Seminary 
and then from St. Charles. With the opening of the St Charles resi- 
dence in 1828 the mission of Portage des Sioux was served regularly 
from that quarter until in 1835 it received its first resident Jesuit pastor 
in the person of Father Verreydt. 

Though the Jesuits took spiritual charge of the Portage congrega- 
tion from the first days of their arrival in Missouri, it was not until 
1827 that they were given possession of the church and presbytery. "I 
go to Portage once a month," Van Quickenborne informed Bishop 
Rosati early in 1825. "Things there go very slowly, but I do not 
despair " 59 Reluctance of the trustees to allow the temporalities of 
the parish to pass out of their hands appears to have been at the root 
of the trouble But a settlement was reached in February, 1827. "The 
people of Portage, of their own accord," Van Quickenborne was able to 
report to the Bishop, "have all submitted to the propositions I made 
them. They agree that we take possession of the church, presbytery 
and cemetery." 60 

The mission annalists, who often deplore the lack of religious spirit 
in other Creole parishes, are unanimous in recording its presence m 
Portage. Father Van Quickenborne described the place in 1829 as an 
entirely Catholic settlement, its inhabitants excelling m religious fervor 
and scarcely one of them failing to discharge his Easter duty. 61 "Here 

58 Ann Prof , 3 347, 5 575 Father Richard's words indicate a date for the 
building of the Portage des Sioux church not long before 1821 "The people of 
Portage still speak of him [Acquaroni] with the greatest praise The effects he 
has produced by his instructions and his edifying ways must convince any one that 
he was a man of God He must have taken particular care to instil piety into the 
hearts of youths for we had no mission in Missouri where the now old people of 
Portage were as well instructed m their religion and as pious as they are." 
Verreydt, Memoirs, (A) 

69 Van Quickenborne a Rosati, Florissant, November 9, 1825, (C). 

60 Van Quickenborne a Rosati, Florissant, February 6, 1827 (C). 

61 Van Quickenborne a Dzierozynski, November 13, 1829. (B). 


if anywhere in Missouri/ 3 witness the Annual Letters for 1837, "the life 
of the first Christians is reproduced. None can be called rich and there 
are few who do not have to toil for a living Perhaps it is this circum- 
stance which prevents vice from entering in and preserves the innocence 
of the inhabitants. A Father attended by a lay-brother is stationed here. 
He is poor among the poor but he is fortunate for all that seeing that 
those committed to his charge are rich in virtue." 62 

The priest of Portage des Sioux must have been hard put to it at 
times to provide even for his physical wants. Referring to conditions 
in the parish in 1835, Father De Theux said that its pastor lived for 
the most part on the charity of benefactors, as the annual revenue of 
the church did not amount to fifty dollars. Under such circumstances 
it is surprising that any attempt should have been made to build a new 
church, which a contemporary account describes as surpassing in beauty 
almost every other sacred edifice in the diocese of St. Louis. 63 The first 
church, a structure of frame, had outlived its usefulness in a few 
years. 64 In 1825 Mr. Van Assche had this to say about it in a letter 
to De Nef . 

The churches of Portage and St Charles . . are barns, not of stone, 
however, but of wood, without other foundation than a few stones placed 
under the joists to keep them from rotting The appointments of the Portage 
edifice consist of some benches, a hole in the wall between the sacristy and the 
choir to serve as a confessional and behind the altar a picture, the meaning of 
which I cannot make out for you, it is so badly disfigured The choir was 
at one time entirely hung with paper, at present, however, scarcely half of 
the paper remains on the walls. There is no pulpit and so you must preach 
from the altar steps So shabby are the vestments, that you would not be 
allowed to use them m Flanders, and, to conclude, there is no chalice 65 

Already in 1829 Van Qmckenborne in a report to his superior, 
Dzierozynski, was commenting on the desire of the people of Portage 
to have a new church and a resident pastor. 66 By 1835, the old church 
had so fallen into decay that it had to be demolished and Mass was 
thereupon said in the presbytery. Meanwhile Van Quickenborne, in- 
stalled as pastor of St. Charles, August 15, 1833, with the mission of 

62 Litterae Annuae, 1837. (A). According to Father Van Assche, Portage 
surpassed in piety all other places in the neighborhood and would serve as a model 
for the villages of Catholic Flanders. Van Assche a De Nef, Florissant, September 
4, 1828 (A). 

63 Litterae Annuae^ 1836 (A) 

64 Ann. Prof, 5 575 

65 Van Assche a De Nef, Florissant, September I, 1825. (A). 

66 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, November 13, 1829. (B) 


Portage to attend, began to gather the materials for a new edifice, a 
task he soon relinquished into the hands of Father Verreydt, who on 
April 6j 1835, was appointed the first Jesuit resident pastor of Portage 
des Sioux. 67 On May I of the following year the cornerstone of the new 
church, dedicated like its predecessor to St. Francis of Assisi, was 
solemnly blessed by Bishop Rosati, the Mass on the occasion being 
celebrated in the open air. 68 Work on the edifice, which was of brick 
and forty by eighty feet in dimensions, was at first delayed owing to 
the lack of carpenters and masons, but church and parochial residence, 
both of which were started at the same time, were practically finished 
in i839. 69 

Father Van Assche in a letter to Belgium described m glowing terms 
the Holy Week and Corpus Chnsti services of 1828 at Portage, where 
he spent the Lent of that year in company with Father Smedts. The 
Holy Week services were m imitation of those at the cathedral of 
Mechlin. On Holy Thursday and all through the night till Good Fri- 
day morning, there was adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the pious 
parishioners taking their turns before the altar. Voyageurs, years away 
from the sacraments, returned to their religious duties, won over chiefly 
by the example and solicitations of their wives and children. 70 The 
Fete-Dieu or Corpus Christi procession of 1828 was another notable 
affair at Portage. Three altars richly decorated were erected for the 
occasion, a thing entailing much labor and, as Van Assche observes, sup- 
plying proof, if any were needed, of the piety of the people. A sermon 
by Van Quickenborne on the Real Presence made a deep impression 
on the Protestants who were present. 71 Noteworthy also m the annals 
of Portage was the reception given by the inhabitants to Bishop Rosati 
on the occasion of his first visit to the village, September 26, 1827. 
On the outskirts of the place a platform was erected and here the people 
gathered to greet the prelate as he approached. They welcomed him 
with salvos of firearms, a usual accompaniment of public religious cele- 
brations in the early Creole villages, after which one of the parish boys 
mounted a platform and delivered an address of welcome in the form 
of "French verses elegantly composed." Father Smedts with two other 
ecclesiastics then offered the customary rubrical homage tendered to a 

67 Ann Prof.y 8 284 "For the last six weeks I have been staying here in the 
old presbytery, rather uncomfortable quarters indeed, superintending the erection 
of the church" Van Quickenborne ad Rosati, February 19, 1835. (C). 

68 Lttterae Annuae, 1836. (A). 

* g Litterae Annuae, 1839 (A) The brick church m Portage des Sioux erected 
by the Jesuits, 1836-1839, was destroyed by fire in 1878 

70 Van Assche a De Nef, Florissant, September 4, 1828 (A) 


bishop on his visitation of a parish, whereupon the Te Deum was in- 
toned and the procession moved towards the church Here the parish- 
ioners had spent their best efforts to make the decorations worthy of 
the occasion. Festoons and garlands of wild flowers hung on all sides, 
while Scripture texts placarded at intervals suggested the sentiments 
of respect and loyalty due to the successors of the Apostles 72 

Father Felix Verreydt was succeeded at Portage des Sioux m the 
summer of 1837 by Father Van Quickenborne, who had returned from 
his Kickapoo mission in a state of declining health. 73 The latter, of 
whom much still remains to be told, was but a few months at his new 
post when he died, August 17, 1837. He was succeeded by Father 
Aegidius Debruyn. Like his predecessor, Debruyn was to see only a 
brief incumbency at Portage. He was a Belgian by birth and a man 
of lively apostolic zeal. He had entered the Society of Jesus in Switzer- 
land, but circumstances made it necessary for him to withdraw from its 
ranks. Coming to America, where he made most of his studies in a 
diocesan seminary, he was admitted to the novitiate at Florissant in 1832 
and ordained a priest in 1837. He had long been a sufferer from a 
chronic intestinal disease, which his superior hoped might be relieved 
by the horseback riding and plentiful outdoor exercise of a missionary- 
priest. But his condition did not improve at Portage. On September 5, 
1838, while in the throes of a severe attack of his ailment, he was sum- 
moned to a sick person five miles away from the residence. Wretched 
as was his own condition, he started off in the oppressive September 
heat, attended to the call and was returning home when increasing 
illness forced him to dismount. He tied his horse to a tree and lay down 
on the ground, where he was found by a man driving a cart in the direc- 
tion of Portage. For some unaccountable reason, the man refused Father 
Debruyn's request for a seat in the cart, though he engaged to let the 
people of the town know of the father's condition. Some friends soon 
hastened to the priest's relief and brought him home in a conveyance. 
He lingered five days, preparing with edifying fervor for the end, 
which came on September 10, 1838. On the morrow he was buried at 
St. Charles alongside of his predecessor, Father Van Quickenborne. 74 

Father Debruyn's place was not permanently filled until the fol- 
lowing summer when Father Van Assche, who on June 15, 1839, was 
succeeded as rector and master of novices at Florissant by Father 
De Vos, took up his residence at Portage. In the matter of health the 

72 Van Assche a De Nef, Florissant, January 3, 1828. (A) Rosati's Diary. 
Kenrick Seminary Archives. 

78 Van Quickenborne had lived a few months at Portage m the first part of 
1835 preparing the materials for the new church. 

74 Litter ae A nnuae, 1838 (A) 


experience of the Jesuit pastors of the place had not been a happy one 
Van Assche's two immediate predecessors at Portage had died there not 
long after their arrival., while he in turn, as well as his companion, 
Brother Donahoe, were in constant ill-health Father Verhaegen wrote 
to Bishop Rosati in August, 1839: 

I have just received a letter from Reveiend Fathei De Vos, who informs 
me that the health of good Father Van Assche is so unsettled that there is 
great probability he will not be able to resume the exercise of the ministry 
for several weeks This circumstance puts me in a very embarrassing situa- 
tion. I have no one to replace him at Portage and Alton Besides, it is 
certain that this Father has conceived prejudices against a place where two of 
our men have died and two others are frequently sick. I dare not send him 
back there and I think that this parish can be attended from St Charles This 
can be done conveniently enough by stationing another Father at the latter 
place But as for Alton, Monseigneur, I shall have no one at all And yet 
this is one of the most important posts m your diocese The inhabitants desire 
to have a priest among them and will provide for his support. Peimit me, 
then, Monseigneur, to recommend the place to you m a very special 
manner. 75 

Father Verhaegen's plan to close the residence at Portage des Sioux 
and have the parish attended from St. Charles was carried out in the 
course of 1840 To meet the expenses of the priest who was to visit 
them twice a month, the Catholics of Portage stipulated to pay annually 
one hundred and fifty dollars. 76 The parish of St Francis of Assisi 
was thus attended from St. Charles until m 1875 it passed out of Jesuit 
hands into those of the diocesan clergy. 


The village of Dardenne, situated nine miles west of St Charles, 
takes its name from Dardenne Creek, a small tributary of the Missis- 
sippi. 77 The name has been explained as being a corruption of Terra 

75 Verhaegen a Rosati, August 4, 1839 (C) Alton and Graf ton in Illinois 
were both visited from Portage, the first-named place once a month Verhaegen 
wrote to Rosati, August 19, 1836, "It seems the work I began at Alton proceeds 
very slowly Some of the Catholics discouraged at seeing themselves without a 
church have left the town. I regret it but shall do for Alton everything I 
can." (C) 

76 Litterae Annuae, 1840 (A) Father Peter De Meester was sent to take 
charge of Portage September 3, 1875 Two weeks later a diocesan priest was 
appointed resident pastor, holding services for the first time on September 26, 1875 

77 Wetmore, Gazetteer of Missouri^ 1837, l lst s Dardenne as a post-office in 
St Charles County, Mo , but does not enter it m a list of settlements or indicate 
its position on the accompanying map From Van LommePs account cited below, 
one gathers that there were very few houses in proximity to the church. Most of 
the parishioners were scattered along Dardenne Creek, on which, according to 


tflnde (dmdon?}, "Turkey-land," from the circumstance that wild 
turkey was at one time plentiful in the neighborhood. More probably the 
name is derived from the Dardenne family, early pioneers in upper 
Louisiana 78 The first church, which was of wood and dedicated to St 
Peter, was built m 1 8 19 at the instance of Father Dunand, the Florissant 
pastor, and, like those of St. Charles and Portage des Sioux, was after a 
few years of service badly out of repair. 79 The Annual Letters for 1827 
note that one had to pick one's steps carefully from the doorway to sanc- 
tuary as so many boards of the flooring had fallen through. The Jesuits 
took charge of the parish in succession, though not immediate, to Father 
Richard, resident pastor at St. Charles, where his priestly virtues met 
with the admiration of Mother Duchesne. 80 Father Timmermans, 
whose energetic ministry was cut short by premature death, May 31, 
1824, visited the place as often as a fifth Sunday occurred m the month 
and also on festivals of obligation not occurring on Sunday. He was the 
first Jesuit to serve the parish of Dardenne. The name of Father Felix 
Verreydt occurs more frequently than that of any other pnest of the 
Missouri Mission m connection with the parish. As second o^eranus at 
St. Charles, he made bi-monthly visits to Dardenne during the years 
1828 and 1829 and later from 1832 to 1835, and it was largely through 
his efforts that a new church was erected in 1835 to replace the old one, 
which was m a ruinous condition. 

A letter of Father De Theux's touches on the new church in 

Father Verreydt has succeeded in finishing his church of St Peter, at 
least to the extent of being able to say Mass in it on the agth of last March 
[1835]. A great number of persons assisted at the services Ten children, 
very modest and well-prepared, made their First Communion, while two 
grown-up children, brought up in negative infidelity, together with a Prot- 
estant child were baptized on the same day Since then the church has 
continued to be highly useful to a population scattered over five square miles 
(almost two of our leagues). The Holy Sacrifice is offered there once a 
month. It is possible that with time the needs of the people and the growing 
number of Catholics will requne that a resident pnest be stationed there 
The church is of wood, but well constructed and when plastered will be a 
very handsome one for Missouri It is strongly built too, and has already cost 
more than $700 I suppose $300 more will finish it. 81 

Wetmore, the best timothy m the state was made. De Theux m 1831 speaks of 
Dardenne as "ce petit milage " 

78 Houck, of at , 2 97. 

79 Ann Prof, 5 575 

80 Baunard, of ctt , p. 1 84 

81 Ann Prof., 8 285. In 1836 Dardenne was being visited twice a month 
from St. Charles. 


Among the few incidents of the early history of the Dardenne parish 
that have been left on record is that of a three days' mission preached 
by Father John Van Lommel. This promising young Belgian priest, 
whose premature death was a deeply felt loss to the Missouri Mission, 
arrived in St. Louis in 1831. In the summer of the following year he 
gave evidence of his zeal by asking Father De Theux to assign him 
some missionary task, preferably m the most forlorn and spiritually 
destitute corner of the diocese. Whether De Theux meant the appoint- 
ment which followed to be a literal response to the father's petition, 
one cannot say, but at all events the latter was directed to conduct a 
three days' mission in Dardenne. The exercises began on Saturday eve- 
ning, August 13, as had been announced. Van Lommel never saw 
a more dreary spot A few cabins scattered here and there made up the 
settlement, while the church had the appearance of a stable rather than 
a place of worship. But there was compensation in the circumstance 
that the fresh air coming in freely from all sides tempered the oppres- 
sive August heat. 

After picking out a cabin m which to lodge, I entered the church. There 
was no need of a key for the door was wide open Spying a small bell I 
began to ring ft to see if I could summon one or other person. Father 
Verreydt had announced that the tnduum would begin Saturday evening 
After ringing the bell at intervals I gathered about fifteen hearers, partly 
French and partly Americans I said to myself, this will never do. But 
remembering St James' experience in Spam I took courage and began to 
preach in English, and as well as I could m French, a thing I never 
attempted before I announced the regulations of the tnduum, firmly re- 
solved to speak three times a day in French and English even though there 
should be but a single hearer. But God, who does not place too great a 
strain upon the weak, came to my assistance at once The next day there 
were about seventy, among them many Protestants; this was not so remark- 
able, but it was remarkable that on Monday and Tuesday the same gather- 
ing of about seventy should be present at the three exercises There were 
thirty-eight communions (never so many before in Dardenne), fifty con- 
fessions and three baptisms of converts. I need not say that I returned from 
the excursion in high spirits 82 

The population of Dardenne during the years that followed Van 
Lommel's mission went forward quickly. In 1831 there were scarcely 
ten families in the place; in 1837, there were sixty, numbering about 
four hundred souls. The increase was due chiefly to the tide of emigra- 
tion, chiefly German, which rolled over St. Charles County during the 
thirties of the last century. The need of a better and larger church for 
the people of Dardenne was met, as recorded above, by the erection in 

82 Van Lommel to Dzierozynski, September 20, 1832. (B). 


1835 of a new frame edifice surmounted by a steeple. Towards the cost 
of it the Missouri Mission contributed nine hundred dollars. In 1840 
the interior of the church was finished and new pews were installed. 
Two years after its erection the church was found too small for the 
crowd of worshippers who flocked to it The Catholic settlers in the 
Dardenne district were indeed a church-going people, and it was a 
matter of regret to Father Verhaegen, superior of the Missouri Mis- 
sion, that he could not for lack of priests accede to their petition for a 
resident pastor. The piety of the parishioners is a matter of frequent 
comment m the Annual Letters of the period. In the Corpus Chnsti 
procession the men carried torches before the Blessed Sacrament as it 
was borne through the fields, while the roads were swept for the occa- 
sion and strewn with wild flowers and leaves. 83 Dardenne continued 
to be served by the Jesuit priests of St. Charles until 1850, when it was 
taken m charge by the diocesan clergy 

83 Litter ae Annuae, 1836-1840 (A) A visit paid by Bishop Rosati to 
Dardenne m 1838 is recorded in his diary "We arrived at Dardenne where 
Father De Bruyn had also gone from Portage Some of the parishioners came 
three miles from the church on horseback to meet us and conduct us thither, the 
company formed near Mr Frmdley's house, welcomed us with salvos of cannon, 
led us to the church and there the cannon saluted us again Mass was sung by the 
pastor, Father Walters, at the end of which I preached m English and after the 
singing of the hymn Veni Creator I confirmed twenty-three faithful of both sexes 
Then I preached m French and gave the [usual] admonitions We dined at Mr 
Fnndley's and returned to St Charles after visiting Judge Spencer" A Jesuit, 
Father Frederick Hubner, was resident pastor m Dardenne for some months in 



The four parishes of St Ferdinand, Portage des Sioux, Dardenne 
and St. Charles, all taken over by Father Van Qmckenborne in 1823, 
formed but a small portion of the field worked by the Jesuit superior 
and his associates. 1 The entire state of Missouri, exclusive of St. Louis 
and the southeastern counties, fell to their spiritual care Moreover, as 
many of the western counties of Illinois were for a period under the 
provisional jurisdiction of the Bishop of St Louis, these also came to be 
cultivated for a while by Jesuit workers. Hence, three distinct areas of 
Jesuit missionary enterprise in the West in the late twenties and early 
thirties of the last century came to be recognized, one stretching to the 
west for an indefinite distance along the banks of the Missouri, another 
lying along the Salt River Valley in northeastern Missouri, and a third 
comprising a wide sweep of Illinois territory with boundary points set 
roughly at Alton, Qumcy, Springfield, aftd French Village Each of 
these areas has its own record of zealous endeavor on the part of the 
Missouri Jesuits for the spreading of the Faith. 

The missionary activities of the fathers assumed considerable pro- 
portions only with the establishment in 1828 of the St. Charles resi- 
dence. Up to that date they had extended their ministry in periodical 
visits westward as far as the mouth of the Osage River and northward 
to the Salt River districts and the adjacent counties, but lack of priests 
and the difficulty of crossing the Missouri River reduced their visits 
to a minimum by no means adequate to relieve the spiritual destitution 
which they encountered. The presence of two fathers at St. Charles 
altered the situation essentially To one of the two, called generally 
in the mission catalogues, oferanw secundus or missionaries excurrens, 
was assigned the duty of systematic visitation of the mission-stations 
scattered along the Missouri and Salt River Valleys. Hence, it came 
about that during the decade 1828-1838, or up to the opening of the 
Westphalia and Washington residences, St. Charles became a base of 
operations from which went forth periodically on regular missionary cir- 
cuits the only Catholic priests that western and northern Missouri knew 

1 Supra, Chap VII. 



during these years. This extra-parochial activity of the Jesuits resident 
in St Charles overshadowed their local ministry in importance and 
spiritual results 

Early m the nineteenth century a tide of immigration began to roll 
up the valley of the Missouri The settlers came from Virginia and the 
Carolmas, later from Illinois and Kentucky, and, as early as the thirties, 
from Germany. Even before Missouri came into the Union in 1821 
after a memorable political contest which was to find its closing chapter 
only in the Civil War, a few white settlements had risen on the banks 
of her great internal waterway Franklin, Boonville, Columbia, Jeffer- 
son City and Liberty had all been started on their career before Van 
Quickenborne and his party crossed the Mississippi. The return of peace 
after the war of 1812 gave a new impetus to western immigration. So 
great was the rush into Missouri of settlers from Kentucky, Tennessee, 
Virginia and the Carolmas that the Missouri Gazette of October 26, 
1816, declared "that a stranger witnessing the scene would imagine 
that those states had made an agreement to introduce the territory as 
soon as possible into the bosom of the American family." As many as a 
hundred persons passed through St. Charles in one day on their way 
to Boone's Lick (Old Franklin), Salt River or some other point of 
attraction, many of the immigrants bringing with them a hundred head 
of cattle, besides horses, hogs, sheep and from three to twenty slaves. 2 
In December, 1823, Van Quickenborne informed Father Benedict Fen- 
wick that the population of Missouri was rapidly increasing "Some 
times last fall as many as thirteen families passed through St. Charles 
1 Franklin and Missounopolis, where the seat of government will be, 
are growing fast. The land is as yet very cheap. In my opinion this is 
the time for settling ourselves here." 3 

By a right guaranteed to them in the most formal terms by the 
Concordat entered into between Bishop Du Bourg and Father Charles 
Neale, the Jesuit missionaries were to have exclusive spiritual charge 
of what was practically the whole watershed of the Missouri River. 
Article 10 of that remarkable document may be cited again 

The Bishop of New Orleans cedes and surrenders to the Society of 
Jesus forever, as soon and in proportion as its increase of members enables 
it to undertake the same, the absolute and exclusive care of all the missions 
already established, and which shall be hereafter established on the Missoun 
River and its tnbutary streams, comprising within the above grant and 
cession the spiritual direction, agreeably to their holy institute, as well of all 
the white population as of the various Indian tnbes inhabiting the above 
mentioned district of country, together with all the churches, chapels, col- 

2 Carr, Missouri, p. 117. 

3 Van Quickenborne to B Fenwick, December 12, 1823 (A). 


leges and semmanes of learning already erected and which shall hereafter 
be erected, in full conviction of the blessed advantages his diocese will derive 
from the piety, the learning and the zeal of the members of the said religious 
society. 4 

The provisions o the Concordat were to become operative only 
after their confirmation by the Holy See and the General of the Society 
of Jesus That confirmation, however, could not be expected till after 
the lapse of months, if not of years, and might not, in the issue, be 
obtained at all. The Jesuits, on the other hand, were on the ground 
and the extent of their actual jurisdiction called for immediate deter- 
mination. Accordingly, shortly after their arrival at Florissant they 
were charged with the care of four parishes m the neighborhood of 
the Seminary and with the mission-stations up the Missouri. No limits 
were set to the range of their ministry in this direction, in a word, 
they found themselves assigned to a field of operations as impressively 
broad and far-reaching as that defined m sweeping terms m the Con- 
cordat. "It begins," Van Quickenborne explained to the Father General 
m September, 1830, "at the spot where the Missouri flows into the 
Mississippi, or rather the Mississippi into the Missouri, distant from 
Florissant eight or ten miles, then it extends westward to the head of 
the same river Missouri " 5 

Here was a great spiritual field of operations stretching in solitary 
grandeur from the outskirts of St. Louis to the Rocky Mountains A 
dozen dioceses and more with a Catholic population of many hundreds 
of thousands have since been organized within its borders. The care of 
this vast ecclesiastical domain by any single religious order must, in 
the nature of things, have soon become impracticable. Yet it was this 
domain that had been tendered in all seriousness and with every hoped- 
for guarantee of canonical effect to the Society of Jesus. The fact is 
significant as showing the inability of even far-sighted prelates like 
Bishop Du Bourg to realize the swiftness and extent of the expansion 
the Church was to undergo west of the Mississippi. 

To cultivate this great sweep of territory Fathers Van Quicken- 
borne and Timmermans were at first the only hands available. Already 
in December, 1823, the Florissant superior was informing Benedict 
Fenwick that Timmermans, besides attending to the parishes of Portage 
des Sioux, St. Charles and Dardenne, visited Hancock Prairie six times 
and Cote-sans-dessem four times a year. 6 At Hancock Prairie a log 

4 For complete text of the Concordat, cf supra, Chap. II, 4. 

5, History of the Society of Jesus ^n North America, Doc , 2' 1028. 

6 Van Quickenborne to B Fenwick, December 12, 1823 (B) "Sphere of 
our operations. Florissant, which congregation I attend regularly St Charles, 
Portage In both of them Father Timmermans keeps church twice a month. In 


church was in course of construction. 7 The sermons which Timmermans 
wrote out carefully while in Maryland are indorsed with the names 
of the localities m which they were now preached. Some of them are 
marked "Cote-sans-dessem," indicating that the missionary put them to 
use on his visits to that Creole settlement. 8 "Father Timmermans' mis- 
sion," wrote Mr. Van Assche in 1824, "is about thirty leagues from here. 
He would go farther if it were possible, for there is no priest between us 
and the Indians though many Catholics. It is sometimes a dozen days 
before he arrives at a lodging place." 9 After his colleague's death. 
Van Quickenborne made an occasional circuit of the western stations, 
which in 1827 were again visited with something like regularity, this 
time by Father Smedts. In 1827 Van Assche informs a correspondent 
that "Father Smedts has four small missions, the farthest is about 
forty-four leagues from here. All these places are daily growing in 
popuktion. In no country in the world do people change their habi- 
tation as often as here, some because they have to, others with a view 
to gain. You must know, my dear friend, that there are immense tracts 
of land here belonging to the government. Permission is granted to 
work this land and even to build on it, with the understanding that, 
if some one buys the land, you may carry away only what belongs to 
you, such as a log cabin. Others sell their farms in Maryland, Kentucky 
and other states, which are well populated, and come here to buy three 
or four farms for the same money. Our state, as a consequence, will in 
a few years be as populous as others, probably one day one of the 

Portage only one family not French Dardenne, where Timmermans keeps church 
every 5th Sunday of month and on all holidays not coming on Sunday Hancock 
Prairie, where there are several pious Catholic families and where at this time 
Father Timmermans thinks a log church has been erected and finished. These 
families are visited once every two months They live eighty miles from the 
Seminary Cote-sans-dessem Father Timmermans goes there four times a year, if 

7 Hancock Prairie, m southeastern Callaway County, Mo Two baptisms of 
Van Quickenborne at this place, September 7, 1827, are recorded m the Florissant 

8 Cote-sans-dessem m Callaway County, Mo., on the left (north) bank of the 
Missouri two miles below the mouth of the Osage. "It was first settled by French 
emigrants in 1808 and was once a populous village. Its name (signifying a c hill 
without a design') is derived from an isolated limestone hill, some six hundred 
yards long and very narrow, standing in the bottom, which, it is thought, some 
convulsion of nature separated from the Osage Bluffs on the opposite side of the 
river." Campbell, Gazetteer of Missouri, p 96. Cf. also Ovid Bell, Cote Sans 
Dessem (Fulton, Mo), 1930 The first priest to visit Cote-sans-dessein (1819) 
was Father Charles De La Croix, pastor of St. Ferdinand's Church, Florissant, Mo 
Garraghan, St. Ferdinand de Florissant the Story of an Ancient Parish^ pp 

9 Van Assche a De Nef, April 29, 1824 (A). 


most flourishing of all because of the two rivers Mississippi and Mis- 
souri." 10 Father De Theux made a missionary excursion to central 
Missouri in the spring of 1827. "Easter Monday I left for a mission 
[Cote-sans-dessem] situated forty leagues from our Seminary. There 
are settlements scattered here and there which have not been visited for 
three years through lack of priests. I was cordially received, baptized 
ten infants, and had I prolonged my visit every one of the settlers, 
I am sure, would have come to confession In this short excursion I saw 
squirrels, wild-turkeys, prairie-chickens and ducks, all within pistol- 
range. All these kinds of game are common, as are also panthers and 
bears, which are harmless provided you let them alone The flesh of 
the latter is quite good to eat. On my way I passed over a prairie 
eighteen miles long and broad in proportion Almost all the country 
I traversed is in prairie or wood. If the distance were not so great, 
I would invite some millions of my fellow-countrymen to come out to 
Missouri, where I believe they could do wonders." n 

In the autumn of 1828 Father Verhaegen made a missionary excur- 
sion as far west as Jefferson City. He was the first Catholic priest whose 
name is distinctly connected with the capital of the state. 12 

The establishment of the St Charles residence in 1828 removed 
many of the difficulties which had hitherto attended the visitation of 
the outlying stations. To Father Verreydt, assigned to that residence at 
its opening, fell the duty of performing at fixed intervals the two con- 
siderable mission-circuits of central Missouri and the Salt River district. 
Verreydt was to prove himself an efficient missionary, whose labors were 
to carry him in successive periods of his career over a great range of 
territory extending from northeastern Missouri to Council Bluffs in 
Iowa and Sugar Creek and St. Mary's in Kansas. As a seminarian, still 
pursuing his studies, he had, owing to certain peculiarities of character, 
been a source of anxiety to Father Van Quickenborne, who felt reluctant 

10 Van Assche a De Nef, Marcli i, 1827 (A) 

11 De Theux a sa mere, May 13, 1827 (A) April 19, 1827, Father De Theux 
baptized at Cote-sans-dessem James Roy, born November 9, 1826 Seven baptisms 
were performed by the father at the same place on the following day The 
earliest recorded baptisms ("a Cote-sans-dessein et dans ses environ?'} were ad- 
ministered by Father De La Croix May 6, 1821, Alexis Faille, May 13, 1821, 
Jean de Noyer, Jean Baptist Roy, April 21, 1822, Paul de Noyer, Celeste Renaux, 
Agnes Faille, Martha Nash Dillon Baptismal Register, St Ferdinand's Church, 
Florissant, Mo The Catholic population of Cote-sans-dessem m 1836 was sixty- 

12 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, November 17, 1828 (B) The writer 
has been unable to find any earlier reference than this to the exercise of the 
sacred ministry in Jefferson City According to a ms. memorandum (1838) in 
the St Louis archdiocesan archives Father Verhaegen preached m Jefferson City 
in 1827, probably a mistake for 1828. 


for a while to recommend him for ordination. Subsequently Van 
Quickenborne was able to report o Verreydt to the superior in Mary- 
land "That good Father has won a great victory over himself and has 
been a great consolation to me All these places he visits three times a 
year with the greatest labor, zeal, consolation on his part and fruit on 
the part of the faithful." In 1829 Father Verreydt was evangelizing 
both banks of the Missouri up to a point beyond Franklin in Howard 
County. A trip in this direction, one hundred and sixty miles beyond 
St. Charles, lasted six weeks and brought him through Hancock Prairie, 
Cote-sans-dessem, the crossings of the Gasconade, Jefferson City, Frank- 
lin and Boonville. These and other river settlements had their little 
groups of Catholic residents, who eagerly welcomed Verreydt into their 
midst three times a year. In 1833 Father De Theux informed a cor- 
respondent in Europe that Verreydt was still cultivating this same 
mission-field of central Missouri 

Rev Father Verreydt, mtsstonatre ambulant of the Society of Jesus, 
whose missions extend for more than a hundred and sixty miles into the south- 
west of Missouri, left St Charles, his place of residence, May 2O, 1832, and 
returned the 23rd of the following June. In this short interval of time he 
made the rounds of nearly all the towns and villages of which he has charge 
You can judge for yourself the extent of his labors in those places when I 
tell you that he preached fourteen rimes, gave sixteen instructions, baptized 
fifteen infants, heard fifty confessions and distributed the bread of life to 
forty persons, nine of whom were children who had never received it before. 
I indicate here only the fruits of the Father's first mission, not having taken 
note of the results of the two or three other missions which he carried on 
in the same localities during the course of the year 1833 He is accustomed 
to visit all these stations two or three times a year, a thing which requires 
health and strength, as you see, for although these good people receive you 
kindly, you must, when you are on a mission, know how to put up with 
anything Still another inconvenience is that these trips have to be made in 
summer, for during the winter the roads are impassable, being cut up by 
creeks, the bridges of which are often swept away from their foundations 13 

Every phase of the work earned on at this period by the Missouri 
Jesuits meets somewhere with minute description in Van Quickenborne's 
correspondence with the Father General. In a letter of September 9, 
1830, details are furnished concerning Father Verreydt's missionary 
excursions in the interior of Missouri and the conditions there existing 
among the Catholic settlers- 

18 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, November 13, 1829. (B). Ann. Prop, 
7 117. In August, 1830, Father Van Quickenborne was called to a sick person 
one hundred and twenty-five miles away, Father Van Assche not going for fear 
of getting lost m the woods 


The circuit is very trying and is made m the following manner As there 
is no church, everything has to be done in private houses These are, as a 
matter of fact, merely cabins of the poorest kind, being made of trees usually 
forty feet long, cut square and placed one on top of the other. One such 
house answers every need. The priest on his arrival is cordially received by 
the family, who are glad to have him m their midst. Pork, coffee, if there 
is any, and bread from Spanish wheat (corn-bread) make up his dinner and 
supper The Catholics of the neighborhood are given notice to approach the 
sacraments on the next day. The Protestants also like to be informed so they 
can come to the sermon In the evening prayers and rosary are recited in 
common Then the dining-room is changed into a dormitory In the morn- 
ing, prayers again in common, after which all the beds are removed from the 
room The priest prepares the altar and begins to hear the confessions 
These ordinarily last till 10 or 12 when Mass is celebrated, during which 
there is a sermon and a practically general communion After thanksgiving the 
altar is taken away and kitchen preparations begin. Meantime, on nearly all 
these occasions a number of Protestants are calling on the priest to have 
points not well understood cleared up and doubts solved. The priest is thus 
kept busy sometimes late into the night The Catholics on hearing the objec- 
tions of the Protestants refuted so effectively are strengthened m the faith 
and encouraged to imitate the priest m taking issue with error. Protestants 
are mentally convinced and seeing the piety of the Catholics their hearts are 
drawn to imitate them All this business having been attended to, the priest 
starts off for another house 20 or 30 miles away, where the same routine is 
repeated and so on until the whole district has been visited. This Father 
[Verreydt] is absent from home on these circuits almost eight or nine months 
of the year, he rests for a few weeks after each circuit. 

This state of poverty does not last always The Catholics, seeing how 
unseemly it is to have everything done m one place, as soon as they are able 
to do so, build the priest a room out of logs Then, as their numbers increase, 
they think of putting up a church, also of logs, and after some time do so 
When it is built, services are no longer held m the houses of the vicinity and 
the Catholics flock to the church. Greater decency is thus possible m the 
celebration of the sacred mysteries For the convenience of the congregation 
this church is located centrally with reference to the houses of the Catholic 
settlers and as these houses are at first very sparse it happens that a forlorn 
church is sometimes found right in the woods, 3 or more miles from any 
house. After some years, as the population increases, what was formally a 
center ceases to be so. Moreover, cities are built up, some of them solidly and, 
as far as appearances go, to last for ever. People flock m great numbers to 
take up residence in them and business prospers Other cities are started, of 
which some die out almost immediately, while others develop, but 
slowly* . . . 

Why this region is so quickly populated. A great quantity of land m 
this state is very rich and fertile and is sold cheap by the government at $1.25 
an acre, whereas in Maryland and Kentucky the same land would be sold 
for 15, 20 and 40 dollars an acre. Therefore, when a paterfamilias who 


owns a farm of 200 acres m the aforesaid states sees his family growing 
considerably in numbers, he sells his 200 acres, comes here and buys 3000 
or 4000 acres and so can settle all his sons and daughters. These generally 
marry very young Last year 3000 families came into our district from 
Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama Among them 
were 14 Catholic families If we do not receive help, how can we attend to 
all these people? In order that they may be cared for more easily in a 
spiritual way by the priest, these families on the advice of Ven. Bishop Flaget 
of Kentucky have settled close to one another. They are good Catholics and 
many more are to come this year. 14 

One would not expect the religious welfare of the few Catholic 
settlers of the Missouri Valley m these pioneer days to be a matter of 
concern to the Jesuit General in distant Rome. And yet we find the 
latter bringing to the attention of Father De Theux a report which 
had reached him that these settlers, whom, the Jesuits were under obli- 
gation to look after, were being neglected. Father Verreydt, to whom 
appeal was naturally made for information on the subject, denied that 
any Catholic family in the district m question had been left unvisited 
by him, with the exception of a single one living a hundred miles or 
so apart from the others. Even this family, he declared, he would have 
seen, had a guide been available, though they were very indifferent 
Catholics indeed and had received him with scant courtesy on occasion 
of the single visit he had paid to them. In March, 1835, Van Quicken- 
borne was appointed to succeed Verreydt as "rural missionary for both 
banks of the Missouri River," being cautioned on this occasion by his 
superior, Father De Theux, not to build or even contract for log cabins 
without his permission. The reasons for thus providing this territory 
rather than others with a missionary, so De Theux made known to the 
General, were fourfold: it was to be ceded to the Jesuits according to the 
Concordat, had been cultivated by them since their arrival m Missouri, 
offered many promising locations for new centers of Jesuit apostolic 
work and, finally, was the open door to the long-contemplated Indian 
mission. As late as 1847 Archbishop Kennck of St. Louis was repre- 
senting to the Propaganda, on what grounds is not known, that the 
Missouri River stations were not being adequately served by the Jesuits 
and he made a move apparently to reopen the entire question of the 
Concordat, with what result has been recorded above. 15 

The total number of Catholics m the Missouri River district in the 
twenties and thirties of the past century was not considerable When 
Father Van Quickenborne, while on his way to the Osage m the sum- 

X4 Van Quickenborne ad Roothaan, September 9, 1830 (AA). 
15 De Theux ad Roothaan, September 5, 1833, June 28, 1835. (AA). Sufra> 
Chap. VII, 7. 


mer of 1827, passed through the interior of Missouri for the first time, 
he found with the aid of a Catholic settler only six members of his 
own faith, which number, he further declared, had in 1829 increased 
to one hundred and eighty. 16 Here, however, he was referring to attend- 
ance at so-called "reunions," which were seemingly impromptu gather- 
ings of the Catholics in the country districts to meet the itinerant mis- 
sionary, so that his figures scarcely include the Catholic population of 
all the river towns But they do not differ widely from those given 
by his fellow-Jesuits for the entire Catholic population of "central 
Missouri" at this period Father De Theux calculated the population for 
1831 as only between two and three hundred But by 1836 according 
to a census made at the time by the Jesuit missionaries, the number 
of Catholics in the nineteen towns visited by them between St. Charles 
and Columbia was five hundred and six. 17 The total Catholic population 
of central Missouri for that year is estimated by the compiler of the 
Annual Letters at about six hundred. 

While the spiritual harvest gathered in by the missionaries as they 
went up and down the interior of the state was considerable, it was 
soon felt that the difficulty of reaching the Catholic population settled 
there was a serious check on the results of their ministry As a missionary 
center, St Charles was found to be too remote from the field of actual 
operations, a more central headquarters for the fathers who ministered 
in the Missouri River towns had now to be looked for The Annual 
Letters for 1836 suggest that two priests be stationed in the town of 
Mary Creek, Gasconade County, whence they could easily visit the sta- 
tions lying twenty or thirty miles away. The overarms of St Charles 
in his last excursion up the state administered fifteen baptisms, four of 
them to adult converts The results, however, scarcely answer to the 
labor expended as the missionary can remain only a few days at each 
station. What good could not be accomplished were a father not merely 
to remain m a station a few days, but live permanently with a com- 
panion in the interior of the state? 18 This was the plan eventually 
carried out. With the establishment of the Westphalia residence in 
1838 by Father Ferdinand Helias begins a notable chapter in the 
history of Catholicism in central Missouri 

16 Father De La Croix eaily in 1819 found twenty-two Catholic families m 
Cote-banb-dessem and fifteen Catholics, all told, m Franklin, Howard County, 
Garraghan, St Tetdmand de Florissant, p 158 

17 Status Misstonum S J , 1836 (C) 

18 L^tterae Annuae > 1836 (A) Status Mtsnonum S J, 1836 (C) "Mary 
Creek locus afttmmus Rend&ntiae " Mary, now Mancb Creek, it, an affluent of 
the Osage The town of Mary Creek, later New Westphalia or Westphalia, on the 
right bank of Maries Creek four miles above its mouth and about fifteen miles 
southeast of Jefferson City Infra, Chap XIV. 


The Annual Letters for 1837 h ay e preserved a carefully drawn 
up statement of the numerical status of Catholicism m the interior of 
Missouri at that date. With its reproduction may be concluded this 
account of the ministry of the Jesuit fathers m the district named 
during the years 1823-1838 The number of Catholic inhabitants fol- 
lows the name of the town visited 

On the right bank of the Missouri ( I ) Manchester, I o A great crowd 
of non-Catholics, many of them well disposed towards the faith, also attend 
the services (2) Mernmac, 14 (3) Washington, 118 The people here 
are building a church for us, 30 by 40 feet, and have given us ten acres of 
land (4) Buibus, II (5) Bailey's Creek, 22 Preparations aie here being 
made for a church (6) French Village, 24 (7) Mary Creek, 80 The 
people wish to build a church The place seems suitable for a Residence. (8) 
Jefferson, 9 (9) Boonville, 20 On the left bank (10) Fayette, I (n) 
Columbia, II (12) Chanton, 2 (13) Rocheport, 26 A church here is 
projected (14) Cote-sans-dessem, 63. (15) Hancock Prairie, 14 (16) 
Portland, 14 (17) Lay Creek, 34 (18) Marthasville, 3 (19) Mount 
Pleasant, 30 On a single circuit of these stations, about 150 confessions 
were heard and 115 Communions administered. 19 

19 Manchester, St Louis Co On the Manchester Road, eighteen miles west 
of St Louis Mernmac, Jefferson Co , eighteenth-century French-Canadian settle- 
ment beginning at about Fenton and extending to mouth of the Mernmac Wash- 
ington, Franklin Co On the south bank of the Missouri, fifty-four miles west of 
St Louis Burbus (Bourbois), Gasconade Co Twenty- four miles southeast of 
Hermann, seat of Gasconade County. The Bourbeuse (French for "muddy") 
Creek, a branch of the Mernmac, flows through Franklin and Gasconade Counties, 
Bailey's Creek, Osage Co Eight miles northeast of Lmn French Village, Osage 
Co On or near the site of Dauphme, subsequently Bonnot's Mill, on the south 
bank of the Missouri, a short distance east of the mouth of the Osage and twelve 
miles east of Jefferson City Mary Creek, Osage Co German settlement later 
known as Westphalia Jefferson, Cole Co State capital, on the south bank of the 
Missouri, one hundred and twenty-five miles west of St Louis Boon-ville, Cooper 
Co On the south bank of the Missouri one hundred and eighty-seven miles by 
rail from St Louis Chariton, Chanton Co Near the mouth of the Chariton 
River, about two miles above the present town of Glasgow Fayette, Howard Co. 
Thirteen miles north of Boonville Columbia, Boone Co "The great western 
mail-route runs through Columbia and the post-coaches pass tn-weekly through 
this town " Wetmore, of cit , p 44 Seat of the State University Rocheport, 
Boone Co On the north bank of the Missouri, fourteen miles west of Columbia. 
Cote-sans-dessem, Callaway Co On the north bank of the Missouri, two miles 
below the mouth of the Osage, opposite Bonnot's Mill Hancock Prairie, m south- 
eastern Callaway Co North of Portland, crossing line between Callaway and 
Montgomery Counties Portland, Callaway Co On the Missouri River twenty-five 
miles southeast of Fulton Lay Creek. Not listed m Wetmore or Campbell Marthas- 
ville, Warren Co On north bank of the Missouri opposite Washington m Franklin 
Co Mount Pleasant, now Augusta, St. Charles Co On the Missouri, thirty-six 
miles above St Charles Robert A Campbell, Gazetteer of Missouri (St. Louis, 
1874), Alphonso Wetmore, Gazetteer of the State of Missouri (St. Louis, 1837). 



In the twenties and thirties of the last century two principal high- 
ways of immigrant travel led out of St. Charles in Missouri. One ran 
westward for some distance and then bent in towards the Missouri 
River, meeting it opposite Jefferson City, the other, taking a north- 
westerly course, brought the traveller through Lincoln, Pike, Rails 
and Marion Counties and beyond. Along the latter road were a number 
of small towns, chief among them Troy, Alexandria, Bowling Green, 
New London and Palmyra, none of which has since achieved any 
notable measure of growth or commercial importance. And yet to the 
Jesuit missionaries of the period 1825-1835, the northeastern counties 
of Missouri, designated by them "the Salt River district," from the 
name of an affluent of the Mississippi which meets the latter at Loui- 
siana in Pike County, appeared to be one of the most promising sections 
of the state both in an economic way and for the prospects it seemed 
to offer of future Catholic development. 20 

In December, 1827, northeastern Missouri received its first recorded 
visit from a Catholic priest in the person of Father Felix Verreydt. He 
was sent m response to a petition from the eighty Catholics settled 
there, who in 1826 had written to Father Van Quickenborne to obtain 
the services of a missionary priest. At the beginning of 1828 Van Quick- 
enborne wrote to Bishop Rosati, who was looking forward to a 
reported influx of Catholics from Kentucky. 

Father Verreydt is back from his mission on Salt River. He had thirty- 
two communicants there. The Catholic families aie so scattered that he has 
not been able up to this to fix on a meeting place. Instead of the forty 
families who were to have followed those settled there last year, or rather 
two years ago, only four came All we can say to the Gentlemen of Ken- 
tucky is that three or four times a year a priest visits the Catholic families 
residing along Salt River in the vicinity of Palmyra and Louisiana. 21 

In February, 1828, Father Elet was sent by Van Quickenborne to 
northeastern Missouri. He was, according to the latter, "the first in that 

20 Troy, Lincoln Co. Fourteen miles northwest of Wentzville, St. Charles Co. 
Alexandria, Lincoln Co Five miles north, of Troy Bowling Green, Pike Co 
The county seat, about ten or twelve miles southwest of Louisiana, the latter 
town, on the Mississippi, being the largest town in the county. New London, Rails 
Co. Contained in 1837, " a brick Court House, five stones, four grocery-stores, and 
one tavern, a church, a clerk's office, and a jail which is of little use." (Wet- 
more). Palmyra, Marion Co In 1837 "a flourishing town of about fifteen hundred 
inhabitants " (Wetmore) . 

21 Van Quickenborne a Rosati, January 2, 1828. (C). 




B + 

TS a, 

a s 


region to say Mass and preach " -- The statement is a puzzling one in 
view o Father Verreydt's recorded visit of three months before, it is 
probably an inadvertence on the part of Van Quickenborne. The sixteen 
days that Elet spent on this mission of February, 1828, brought a har- 
vest of sixteen baptisms, thirty-six confessions, seventeen communions 
and twelve conversions of adults. He found on his arrival that, one 
family excepted, the children of the Catholic settlers had been baptized 
by Protestant ministers. One instance of heroic Catholic faith among 
these settlers, nearly all of whom were recent immigrants from Ken- 
tucky, deserves to be recorded A Mrs. Shields, whose husband was a 
Presbyterian, journeyed more than once with her daughters all the way 
from northeastern Missouri to Kentucky for the purpose of there receiv- 
ing holy communion, not being aware that there were English- 
speaking priests in St. Louis. An account of Father Elet's mission of 
February, 1828, in the Salt River district was drawn up in English by 
Van Quickenborne and sent to Dzierozynski, the Maryland superior. 

Father Elet has three stations, (i) Buffalo Creek, (2) at Mr. Shields 
near Louisiana on the Mississippi, (3) at Mr. Leake's in the vicinity of New 
London and on Salt River, about one hundred and forty miles from the 
Seminary. On Buffalo Creek there is but one Catholic family, whose house 
was not prepared to say Mass in. Another one very spacious was selected, 
belonging to a Protestant 

Father Elet said Mass there and preached before 130 Protestants and 
20 Catholics The room was so filled with people that after Holy Com- 
munion he could not turn himself to say Dommus Vobiscum All the hearers 
were highly satisfied. He explained the meaning of each of the sacerdotal 
vestments He gave an English missal to one, who showed the prayers to 
the others These were found by them to he very good. He preached during 
Mass for three-quarters of an houi and after Mass was forced to yield to 
an unanimous request to preach another sermon, which was done to their 
great satisfaction. Late m the afteinoon Father Elet sat down at a very 
sumptuous table and after dinner retired. At the second station (Mr. 
Shields') he said Mass and preached before an audience of thirty persons, 
chiefly Protestants Here thirteen persons went to Holy Communion. You 
can easier imagine than I can express how Mrs Shields now rejoiced, she 
who had been led to this country by her Protestant husband and had gone 
several times a distance of 800 miles to obtain the happiness which was now 
brought to her home From this place Father Elet set off with Mr. Shields 
m search of the Catholic families living, as was supposed on Spencer's Creek 
and whose names he did not know, for they were newcomers At the end of 
their first day's journey, they had not as yet found any, and when late m 
the evening they did not even find a house, upon Father Elet's saying to Mr 
Shields that he had steel, etc,, to get fire, they were on the point of alighting 

22 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, March 4, 1828 (B). 


from their horses to pass the night in the woods without having had a dinner 
or a supper, when Mr. Shields going about to reconnoiter the place, saw at 
a distance a cabin Thither they went, but on their arrival they found the 
cabin was abandoned. Father Elet observed to Mr Shields that it was 
alieady some comfort to have a roof, but Mr. Shields going still to recon- 
noiter the place from a high hill, saw lights at the great distance and, though 
it was now very late in the night, they resolved to go thither The cabin was 
inhabited by a poor settler who, however, received them with cordiality 
They got dinner and supper at once and the bed of the settler was put up 
straight against the wall to afford room to lie on the floor, so small was the 
cabin Here they heard that some newcomers had settled at a small distance 
Before breakfast they repaired to the spot pointed out and found a settle- 
ment just begun They asked whether they could get breakfast R[eply] 
"Yes, such as we have " Father Elet being covered by his great white coat 
could not be distinguished He saw some books m the cupboard and found 
they were all Catholic books. He asked the man m a tone of surprise, "Are 
you a Catholic" 5 " "Yes, sir, we are Catholics." "Do you know me?" con- 
tinued Father Elet "No, sir'" "Then," said Father Elet, "I will pull off 
my great coat and you will know me " When he had done so, the man 
cried out, "You are a Catholic priest'" and such a transport of joy was he 
m that he left everything and ran off to his wife, who was at her sugar-camp 
at some distance from the house The man, coming to the camp, found his 
wife sitting on a log m great melancholy, thinking within herself that she 
would be perhaps forever deprived of the holy sacraments This thought 
had made her sick for several days past. Upon his seeing her, the man said, 
"Nelly, guess four times and you will not tell me who is at our house " 
R[eply]. "Who can be at the house but some fnend from Kentucky" 5 " 
"No." "Who then?" "A Catholic priest." As soon as the words had 
dropped from the lips of her husband, she ran as quick as she could to the 
house and seeing Father Elet, she threw herself at his knees, crying and 
shedding many tears "Father, give me your blessing' Father, give me your 
blessing'" The man said, "Father, I would give everything I have for your 
presence. Come, sit down' Breakfast will be prepared." The name of the 
family is Leake They came out from Kentucky last fall, three families 
They went at St Louis, all of them, to their Easter duty Father Elet says 
he has never seen finer Catholics than they are. They all communicated 
again. They are well off. Have several negroes and are settled in a very 
good part of the country, this spring seven families more must come and 
they come with the intention of bringing out forty families, being told in 
Kentucky that they would have a pnest. They offer to build a brick church 
as also at Louisiana, a very thriving town. Such also is Palmyra on Salt 
River. Father Elet says it is the finest country he has seen land like about 
Florissant, well-timbered, watered, and having many very fine sugar-camps 
They sell their produce as high as about St. Louis, because they are con- 
venient to the Lead Mines m Fever River, and send their stock of cattle to 
New Orleans by water 23 

23 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, March 4, 1828 (B) 


With the visit of Verreydt to the Salt River district in December, 
1827, followed by that of Elet in February, 1828, began a Jesuit 
missionary activity in that quarter that continued until the arrival in 
1833 of Father Lefevere, future first Bishop of Detroit. In 1829 
Verreydt from his headquarters at St Charles was making apostolic 
expeditions three times a year to the northern counties of Missouri, 
spending six weeks on the circuit The stations visited included Moscow, 
Troy, Alexandria, Bear Creek, Louisiana, Palmyra, New London, and 
the houses of certain settlers on the Salt River. The district thus evan- 
gelized by the Jesuit missionaries was visited by them in default of other 
priests and not in discharge of any duty devolving upon them by the 
Concordat, as was the case in the Missouri River towns. Writing May 6, 
1823, to the Father Prior in Rome, Father Rosati, then superior of 
the Lazanst community at the Barrens, says that Bishop Du Bourg had 
assigned to the Lazansts the territory along the Mississippi, as he had 
assigned to the Jesuits the territory along both banks of the Missouri. 
Four missionaries from each body were to be placed as soon as possible 
in their respective fields of labor and Father Rosati petitions the Father 
Prior to send the subjects necessary to discharge the obligations thus 
assumed by the Lazansts. 24 It does not appear that the latter group, 
presumably through lack of missionaries, ever worked the part of their 
Mississippi River district lying north of St. Louis, though the part 
south of the metropolis enjoyed for years the fruits of their ministry. 
We find Bishop Rosati offering in 1830 to the Society of Jesus the spirit- 
ual charge of northeastern Missouri. "The day before yesterday," 
Father Van Quickenborne informed the General, September 9, 1830, 
"our Bishop told me that he desired much to have the Society take 
charge of the district lying on the right bank of the Mississippi, begin- 
ning at the confluence mentioned above and extending northward thence 
as far as the limits of this state, that is, about two hundred and fifty 
miles. 57 25 

No formal transfer of the Salt River territory to the Society of 
Jesus was made by the Bishop of St. Louis in the sense implied by 
Father Van Qmckenborne's words, namely, an exclusive cultivation of 
the territory by Jesuit missionaries similar to that which the Concordat 
secured to them in regard to the Missouri Valley. Yet, as a matter of 
fact, the Missouri Jesuits worked this promising field freely and alone 
during the years 1827-1832 and more than once devised plans for a 
permanent residence within its limits. On September 2, 1829, Van 
Quickenborne made a proposition to one of the Salt River congregations 
to enter government land to the extent of one hundred acres and to 

2 * Hughes, of cit., Doc 3 2 1018 

25 Van Quickenborne ad Roothaan, September 9, 1830. (AA) 


build a house, church, kitchen and stable If the house were ready by 
March, 1830, and if nothing unforeseen occurred in the interval, the 
congregation was to receive a resident Jesuit pastor. The plan, however, 
like many other plans of the sanguine superior, was not realized. "We 
ought," so he suggested to Father Roothaan, "to have a residence at 
Franklin and another at Louisiana [Pike Co , Missouri] and in each 
two priests and a brother, the latter to teach school, that is, reading, 
writing, arithmetic, English grammar and geography. We now lose 
too much time in travelling our men are too much exposed to disease 
we cannot visit Protestants and have private talks with them on 
religion we cannot build churches, for the people do not contribute 
for these unless the priest lives in the place. But what would they live 
on? I answer, as at St Charles, on the pew-rents and yum stolae In 
accordance with episcopal statute Catholics pay something on occasion 
of a marriage, burial or funeral " 26 

Father Van Quickenborne, it would appear, had so far committed 
himself to the project of a Jesuit residence in northeastern Missouri 
that his successor, Father De Theux, felt it necessary to attempt to 
carry it through. "I have hopes," says the latter in 1831, "of beginning 
a new establishment one hundred and twenty miles from Florissant near 
New London, some distance from Louisiana on the banks of the Missis- 
sippi " 27 However, the following year, 1832, it was ruled by Father 
Kenney, the Visitor, that all plans for the proposed residence should 
be abandoned, as the venture would delay still further the inception 
of the Indian mission, which was a matter of far greater urgency for 
the Jesuits of Missouri "This cogent reason," Father Kenney declared 
in his Memorial, "united with the wish to relieve the wants of St. Louis 
College induced the Visitor to adopt the advice of the consultors and 
desire that the contemplated Mission on the Salt River should not be 
undertaken. He felt the less regret in being obliged to withdraw our 
priests from this work of charity and utility, because the mission assumed 

26 L^ber Consul tationum y January 8, 1830 (A) Van Quickenborne ad Roo- 
thaan, September 9, 1830 (AA) 

27 De Theux a sa mere, Florissant, October 12, 1831. (A). Father Verre>dt 
when at the Salt Rivei in 1831 was assured by Mr. James Leake of board and 
lodging at his house until the proposed church and presbytery should be eiected 
"This proposition appeared to me to be veiy helpful towards the establishment 
I have in view and the spiritual well-being of these few Catholics I hastened to 
inform Mr Leake that if he persevered in the offer he had made to Father 
Verreydt, I would in future send one of the two Fathers I had assigned to them " 
De Theux a Rosati, February 26, 1832 (C) In a note addressed to Van Quick- 
enborne, January 12, 1831, James Leake acknowledges the Superior's letter prom- 
ising to send him "Mr Varite" or some other clergyman "I will make them as 
comfortable as we can I need not tell you that we want a guide " (C) 


a new burthen, without fulfilling by it any of the obligations contracted 
by the Concordat between Rt. Rev Bishop Du Bourg and Rev F 
Charles Neale, and as the Salt River is not within the sphere assigned 
to the Society by that instrument, to begin a mission there before we 
were invited to do so by the Bishop might have the appearance of 
unnecessarily taking to ourselves a mission that could be supplied by 
the secular clergy." 

Early in 1833 the Salt River stations were taken over by Father 
Peter Lefevere, through whose efforts the settlers of St Paul's, Rails 
County, were brought to complete a modest church edifice, in which 
Mass was said for the first time in June, i834. 28 


Shortly after retiring from the office of superior of the Missouri 
Mission in 1831, Father Van Quickenborne was assigned a Latin class 
in St. Louis College "After such an active life as he has led since com- 
ing to America," wrote Father De Theux at the time, "it is astonish- 
ing to see how well this employment agrees with him " 29 But the 
ministry was the proper field of the tireless missionary In the spring 
of 1832 he began a series of missionary excursions through northeastern 
Missouri, western Illinois and easternmost Iowa which made him a 
pioneer apostle of the Faith in those parts. The diocese of St. Louis, 
until the erection of that of Dubuque in 1837, included all of the 
Louisiana Purchase north of the Louisiana state-line, moreover, by pro- 
visional arrangement, it included the western counties of Illinois until 
1843, when these became part of the newly erected diocese of Chicago. 
Van Quickenborne's baptismal and marriage register for this circuit, 
neatly and accurately kept, records at least six missionary excursions dur- 
ing the years 1832, 1833, and i834 30 The first of these, made during 
May and June, 1832, resulted in forty-two baptisms and a number of 
marriages The missionary visited Lincoln, Pike, Rails, Marion, and 
Monroe Counties in Missouri, the localities visited including Bowling 
Green, New London, Leake Settlement and Pans. This was the Salt 
River circuit visited, as has been seen, in December, 1827, by Father 
Verreydt, and perhaps earlier even by Father Elet. A second excursion, 
from August to December, 1832, was marked by eighty-eight baptisms. 
Van Quickenborne on this occasion covered a wide sweep of territory. 
Crossing over into Illinois, he exercised his ministry in Edwardsville, 
Wood River, Springfield, Lick Creek, Brush Creek, Bear Creek, Flat 
Branch, South Fork of Sangamon River, Indian Creek, Head of the 

28 Ms memorandum (C) 

29 De Theux a sa mere, Florissant, October 12, 1831 (A) 

80 These registers are in the archives of St Mary's College, St. Marys, Kansas. 


Rapids, Crooked Creek, Keokuk (Iowa), Fort Edwards and Qumcy. 
Returning to the west side of the Mississippi, he revisited the Salt River 
district, including Florida in Monroe County, Palmyra and Louisiana. 
A third excursion, February and March, 1833, was confined to Illinois, 
chiefly to Calhoun and Schuyler Counties, with a harvest o twenty-two 
baptisms. A fourth excursion during May and June, 1833, took the 
missionary through St. Clair, Madison, Sangamon, Montgomery, and 
Shelby Counties. A fifth excursion in July, 1833, Wlt h twenty-five bap- 
tisms to its credit, included visits to Galena, Dubuque, Mill Seat, and 
Gratiot's Grove. The baptismal and marriage records of these ministerial 
trips of Van Qmckenborne's are in all probability the earliest extant for 
numerous localities in northeastern Missouri, Iowa and western Illinois. 
Among the earliest incidents of Catholic history m Dubuque, Keokuk, 
Springfield, and Edwardsville are to be reckoned the visits paid to these 
towns by the zealous missionary from Missouri. 31 

31 Van Quickenborne's first recorded 

Mis sow i. 

May 20, 1832, 
" 23, 1832, 
30, 1832, 
" 31, 1832, 
June 8, 1832, 

baptisms in the following localities. 

Lincoln County, 
Bowling Green 3 
New London, 
Leake Settlement, 
Monroe County, 
Paris, Monroe Co , 
Louisville, Lincoln Co., 



Mulder Prairie, 

Marion Co., 
Fort Edwards, 

Beardstown, Morgan 


Brush Creek, Montgomery 

Qumcy, Adams Co., Oct 

NOV 22, 1832, 





July 10, 1833, 

Aug 23, 1832, Eligius Lobe, 

Maria Joanna Galloway, 
Mary Magdalena Rule, 
Julia Ann Boarman, 
Stephen Benedict Eliot, 
Joseph Addison Abell, 
Edward Holden, 
Enoch Cryder, 
Ottonianna Penn, 

John Reynay, 

Joseph Stephen Angevine, 

Elizabeth Delphma Mudd, 

Maria Louise Fraiser, 
Anna Maria Allndge, 
Henry Monaghan, 



24, 1832, Marie Elliot, 
6, 1832, Mane Helen Alvey, 

Gratiot's Grove, 

9, 1832, Mary Anne Simon, 
14, 1832, William Edward Stebbms, 
July 23, 1833, Charles Gagnard, 

1 8 days 

20 " 

35 " 

3 mos 

4 " 

3 days 

7j^2 rnos 

6 wks. 

14. rnos 


5 wks 
8 mos. 

^2 mos. 

2 yrs 
14 mos 

3 " 

6 wks 

21 mos 

Mill Seat, Michigan 

(Territory), July 22, 1833, James Murphy, i6mos. 

Father Vincent Badm's baptisms in Galena antedate those of Father Van 
Quicfcenborne for that town. Moreover, diocesan priests from St. Louis were in 


I L L I N O 

Father Van Quickenborne's missionary excursions in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, 1832- 
1834. Places indicated on the map were included in the circuit. Compiled by G. J 
Garraghan, drawn by J. P. Markoe. 


One interesting item to be found in the Van Quickenborne records 
may here be noted. On October 5, 1832, he baptized at Crooked Creek, 
Hancock County, Illinois, two children, Benjamin and Abraham Mudd, 
the god-parents being Abraham and Elizabeth Lincoln The Lmcolns 
of Hancock County were a collateral branch of the family line to which 
belonged President Lincoln. Many Hancock County Lmcolns were 
Catholics. The Abraham Lincoln who was sponsor at the two baptisms 
administered by Van Quickenborne was a son of Mordecai Lincoln, a 
brother of Thomas Lincoln, father of the President, and was accord- 
ingly a first-cousin of the latter 32 

Here and there in these missionary rounds Van Quickenborne was 
instrumental in having the Catholic residents set about building churches 
in their respective localities Thus, in July, 1833, building committees 
were formed in Galena and Dubuque. On July 19, "at an aggregate 
meeting of the Roman Catholics living at the Dubuque Mines," resolu- 
tions were passed for the erection of a "hewed log building 25 ft by 
20 and jo or 12 ft. high." On the building committee were James 
McCabe, Thomas Fitzpatnck, Patrick O'Mara, N. Gregoire and James 
Fanning, the last named being appointed treasurer. In his hands accord- 
ingly Father Van Quickenborne left a copy of the resolutions passed at 
the meeting In Galena, Illinois, a tract of five acres was purchased 
on July 19, 1833, f r two hundred dollars from Patrick Gray, payment 
to be made when the amount should have been collected from the con- 
gregation. The property lay "near Galena, sown in timothy and clover, 
being bounded east by the road leading to Meeker's farm, south by 
Martin Gray's claim, west by the burial ground, north by the public 
land." According to Van Quickenborne's memorandum, a block-house, 
which apparently stood on the property, was to furnish the timber for 
the proposed church, which was to be of frame and twenty-five by thirty- 
five feet in size. Nicholas Dowlmg was appointed treasurer of the build- 
ing committee and was to collect from the congregation the money 
needed for the purchase of the property and the erection of the church, 
the specifications of which were agreed upon before Van Quickenborne 
left Galena. 33 Thence the missionary passed over into Wisconsin, then 

Sangamon and other Illinois counties before Father Van Quickenborne. Cf. 
SLCHR, 5 193 et seq 

32 St Louis Globe-Democrat, Februar7 9, 1909, "The Lmcolns of Fountain 
Green" , Lee and Hutchmson, The Ancestry of Abraham Lincoln, p 84, Garra- 
ghan, The Catholic Church in Chicago, 1673-2871, p. 69. 

83 Details of the arrangements sanctioned by Van Quickenborne for the building 
of churches in Galena and Dubuque are contained in a memorandum of his in the 
St Louis archdiocesan archives "Churches should be built at Galena, Dubuque 
and Lower Rapids, as the funds can be raised very easily Churches might be built 
at Lower Alton and at Springfield/' 


a part of Michigan Territory, where we find him baptizing at Mill Seat, 
July 22, 1833. Certain difficulties attending the exercise of the ministry 
in this new field occurred to him, as he notes in a memorandum. "It 
will be necessary for the clergyman living there [Galena] or visiting 
to see the Catholics of a part of Michigan Territory since the line of 
Illinois goes only six miles above Galena, and of course he must have 
the necessary powers Is meat allowed on Saturday there? how is Lent 
kept ? which are the holy days? the fast days? days of abstinence? Was 
that country under Canada when in 1764 the dispensations were given 
about marriages?" 

Missionary circuits such as Van Quickenborne was now engaged 
in were the very thing needed at the time to save the faith of the neg- 
lected Catholic settlers in the rural Middle West. The circuits were 
financed, in part at least, by Bishop Rosati out of the funds allotted to 
him by the French Association of the Propagation of the Faith. It was 
in fact the Bishop himself who secured the services of the Jesuit as a 
means of relieving in some measure the spiritual distress prevalent in 
great stretches of his diocese where there was not a single resident 
priest. The General wrote to Father De Theux- 

That Father Van Quickenborne acts as a missionary for the Bishop 
throughout his diocese does not prevent him from depending on your Rever- 
ence, as he ought to. And yet it is proper that we deal generously and 
liberally with the Bishop in this matter as in others. Certainly Father Van 
Quickenborne in those excursions is doing a work by no means to be re- 
gretted In general, when a service of this nature on behalf of the abandoned 
faithful or others can be rendered by the Fathers without neglect of their 
own duties (and it is said this can be done conveniently even by the Fathers 
who reside in parishes), the opportunity should not be allowed to pass by nor 
should we expect and much less demand of the Bishop a subsidy for meeting 
the expense of such excursions since the necessaries are usually supplied by 
the faithful and in abundance. 34 

In a lengthy letter to the Father General, January 16, 1 834, Father 
Van Quickenborne pleads with customary ardor that the Jesuits be made 
to enter in a larger way into this new ministry, which by his own experi- 
ence he had found at once so necessary and so effective 

Since by the will of Superiors I have traversed the region watered of old 
by the sweat and blood of our Fathers but now m a state of most pitiful 
neglect, I thought it might be agreeable to your Very Rev. Paternity were 
I to write you such particulars as may seem useful concerning this region 
and the immense fruit which may be gathered in by the ministry of two 
rural missionaries In so doing I shall find some relief in bearing the really 

34 Roothaan ad De Theux, Ma/ 24, 1833. (AA) 


bitter grief of soul which is stirred within me by the abandoned state of this 
region in regard to spiritual aid, for it is my hope that your Reverence in 
his charity towards all may sooner or later send assistance At least I hope 
that I may certainly contribute something towards letting your Reverence 
know what kind of ministry is calculated above all others in these parts to 
bring forth the most abundant fruit I therefore greatly desire your Very 
Rev. Paternity to know that there is a well founded hope that if two rural 
missionaries were to take in hand the canvassing of one state, going through 
towns and villages, visiting families, preaching the word of God everywhere 
m public buildings and private houses and administering the holy sacraments, 
they could in a short time with the grace of God convert a great multitude 
of persons in these western states And since this is new country, houses 
could be founded resting on a solid foundation, and that at little expense 
compared with elsewhere, and this expense would transmit its fruit to future 
generations at the highest possible rate of interest Non-Catholics are very 
active m this field of endeavor So necessary is this ministry of the rural 
missionary that without it religion cannot be here set up at alL And that this 
may be made still more evident, I shall tell of conditions among the people, 
of their ways, of their preachers and the manner in which the latter exercise 
their ministry in the particular halves of the states of Illinois and Missouri 
which I lately canvassed for about 12 months and which the Bishop is 
anxious for Ours to canvass and where he would be delighted to have us 
settle as he has witnessed to me himself, 

Van Quickenborne's shrewd analysis of conditions in pioneer Illinois 
and Missouri as he saw them is not here reproduced m extent o, but 
one passage is cited for the light it throws on the phenomenon of leak- 
age in the Catholic population of the United States in the early decades 
of the last century. He is enumerating the evils due to lack of priests, 
the numbering of separate heads in an argument or exposition of facts 
being a favorite literary device with him, 

I. Catholics dare not declare themselves. In the second town I visited in 
Illinois, after I had left, a minister in a sermon publicly called me Anti- 
Christ, a man of sin, whom no one should allow to enter his house and he 
said this with so much bitterness that his own people condemned him In 
the third town my host, a non-Catholic, did not dare to keep me in his house 
any longer, as his business would otherwise have suffered. In the fourth 
town the two Catholic families did not even dare to receive me in their 
houses. 2. Calumnies against the Catholics are spread about and are accepted 
by many as true 3. Many become apostates. I shudder to think of what I 
have seen in this matter I had on my list 26 apostate families, namely, where 
the father or mother fell away from the faith and the whole family were 
living as non-Catholics, having joined some sect. One of these persons had 
even become a minister, and several Catholic women had married preachers, 
thereby losing the faith. 4. Boys and girls at school do not dare to say they 
are Catholics. The teachers indoctrinate them with the principles of the 


Protestant religion From childhood on not only do they learn to be ashamed 
of their own religion but by means of principles contrary to it they are 
grounded m a false religion 5. According to civil law marriages must be 
contracted either before a minister of some or other religion or before a 
magistrate They generally take place before a minister as the more respect- 
able way of the two When no priest is at hand, people marry before a 
preacher, in case one party is Catholic and the other non-Catholic, and no 
stipulation is made as to the education of the children in the true faith 
6. The sick are placed in a deplorable position Though it is possible for 
them in certain cases to obtain a priest from a distance, they do not venture 
to send for one on account of the rather considerable expense involved and 
often, too, for fear of being recognized as Catholics When the parents die 
under such circumstances, the children are wont to have no regard at all 
for religion But what does this excessive fear come from? From the fact 
that many of the Protestants have this conviction regarding the Catholic 
religion Catholics look upon the priest as God, without him no remission of 
sms is possible When present, he forgives all sins for money, without any 
contrition on the part of the one receiving forgiveness The priest even goes 
so far as impiously to sell a license for committing sin in the future To 
prove all this they have a Roman table which indicates the sum of money to 
be paid for each sin. 

The only remedy for this distressing condition of things, so it 
seemed to Father Van Quickenborne, was to have the Catholics of the 
rural districts visited at intervals by a priest. How he himself conducted 
such visits and with what results is told in a contemporary account by 
Father De Theux 

Such was the state of things in the section of Illinois traversed by Fathei 
Van Quickenborne He knew there were Catholics living there but had 
definite knowledge of only some dozen families. But what are a dozen 
families over a stretch of country such as he had to visit? Crossing the 
Mississippi on the way to his mission, he knew not whom he was to visit or 
whom he was to lodge with on that very day. He enters the first village he 
comes to, announces himself for a Catholic priest, and inquires whether there 
is any Catholic family in the place. This question at first provokes astonish- 
ment, but soon to the emotion of surprise succeeds one of curiosity, for the 
person addressed is one of those good people who have never yet seen a 
priest Finally, learning that he is to preach in English, they allow themselves 
to yield to the desire of hearing him Ministers, just as curious as the 
people, come to hear him, it has happened at times that they were on either 
side of him while he was preaching. "I come," he would then proceed to 
say, "to speak to you of the oldest of all religions, but one which has been 
disfigured in your eyes by the most atrocious calumnies." He then develops 
the principles of the Catholic faith, establishes them by good proofs within 
the grasp of his audience, and finishes by refuting the falsehoods which he 
knows to be the stock-m-trade of the ministers. As these are personally 


unknown to him, he challenges them to prove m his presence the charges 
they are accustomed to level against the Catholic religion It is rare that the 
ministers fail to keep silence The people conclude they are afraid of the 
missionary, while the missionary himself concludes that the Catholics and 
their religion have been calumniated He adds that perhaps the ministers 
have spread their calumnies about without examining them, but just here is 
the height of imprudence, for they brand their fellow-citizens without being 
sure they are guilty Hence, in the future they ought to abstain from all 
assertions of this sort or take upon themselves the obligation of proving them 
At these words the Catholics take courage and invite the Father to come to 
their houses, while the Protestants ask one another how it is possible that 
after so many violent attacks against the Catholic religion, their ministers 
have not dared to defend themselves They come to the missionary, ask him 
for explanations and then go off to attack the ministers themselves, reproach- 
ing them for their systematic calumnies The Father preached regularly once 
a day and that frequently m town-halls or other public buildings In the 
course of a single year he travelled 4373 miles, baptized 213 persons, 83 of 
whom were Protestants, discovered more than 600 Catholics in Illinois and 
more than 700 m a part of Missoun where eight or nine years before he 
knew of scarcely more than eight 35 

Despite the prevailing bigotry there was on occasion a readiness on 
the part of the non-Catholic residents to receive a Catholic priest cor- 
dially, strange and unfamiliar figure though he was among them This 
is illustrated by an incident that occurred m the spring of 1832. In Car- 
rollton, Greene County, Illinois, a Catholic, James Sullivan by name, 
was under sentence of death for the murder of Samuel Loftus He 
declined the services of a non-Catholic clergyman who sought to console 
him, but begged earnestly for a priest Governor Reynolds of Illinois, 
hearing of the condemned man's desire, wrote at once to Bishop Rosati 
requesting that a priest be sent from St. Louis "There has been a person 
sent to Portage des Sioux but I am informed there is no priest resident 
at that place The above man is much distressed for his situation and 
wishes religious consolation, which I hope will be afforded him. I take 
the liberty of informing you of the above, so you can send to him a 
priest to console him in his dying moments " 36 

Familiar as he was with the country on the Illinois side of the 
Mississippi from his repeated missionary excursions in that direction, 
Van Quickenborne was promptly sent on this errand of mercy Arnving 
in Carrollton he was at once invited to become the guest of a leading 

ss Ann. Prop, 18 282 The statistics of Van Quickenborne's Illinois ministry, 
as given by De Theux, cover the period May 1 6, 1832, to July 16, 1833. Van 
Quickenborne memorandum (C) . 

36 Reynolds to Rosetta (Rosati), April 10, 1832 (C). Cf also Iltmots His- 
torical Collections, Governor? Letters, 1818-1834 (Springfield, 111, 1909). 


citizen of the town, who showed him every attention and courtesy as 
though he were an old-time friend. So also the sheriff, a Mr. Colkey, 
showed himself very obliging to the missionary and eager at the same 
time to render the prisoner every facility for the exercise of his religion. 
There was only a single Catholic in the town, but some of the Protestant 
residents provided a place for the celebration of Mass, which the father 
had the consolation of saying every day before a considerable gathering 
of persons, all of them very attentive and respectful during the sacred 
rite. On Easter Sunday he preached in the town-hall on the object and 
nature of Catholic belief. 

Meantime the condemned man, in whom the vitality of a one-time 
active faith now reasserted itself in the face of death, was making edify- 
ing preparations for the end. He made his confession and prayed 
earnestly and at frequent intervals by day and night On the eve of 
the execution he asked three favors of the sheriff, that arrangements 
be made to have Mass said the next morning in the jail, that he be per- 
mitted to go all the way to the gallows on foot, and that he be dis- 
patched as soon as possible after reaching there, which favors the sheriff 
promised to grant. But so many of the townspeople were eager to attend 
Mass the following morning that the sheriff felt called upon to request 
Father Van Quickenborne to perform the service in the town-hall, 
whither he engaged to conduct the prisoner and preserve proper order. 
It was a reasonable request and the father acquiesced in it without 
difficulty. During Mass the man bore himself devoutly and m a 
manner to repair as best he might the scandal he had given. He held in 
his hands a rosary and a crucifix, on which he steadily fixed his eyes, 
praying earnestly all the time. This gave the father an opportunity 
to explain to the large audience before him the use of the crucifix. 
"You see for yourselves," he told them, "that the crucifix is an excel- 
lent book, full of the most beautiful instruction, of which unlettered 
persons like the prisoner before you can avail themselves as readily as 
the educated." During Mass the prisoner received holy communion, 
after having recited aloud acts of faith, hope, charity and contrition 
and asked pardon from all present for the scandal he had given. Imme- 
diately after Mass Father Van Quickenborne delivered a sermon on the 
justice and goodness of God. Directing it partly to the prisoner, he 
sought to awaken still further in his heart sentiments of sorrow and con- 
trition for his sins and of confidence in the infinite mercy of the Saviour. 
He recalled to him that the God Who was about to judge him had 
deigned to come down from heaven to save him and he cited the words 
of Scripture, "Come to me all you that labor and are heavily burdened 
and I will refresh you." In conclusion he pointed out to his hearers 
that the man was very happy indeed m dying in the Catholic Church, 


for he found therein not only whatever means of salvation he might 
have found elsewhere, but in addition a well-grounded hope of the 
remission of his sins in the sacrament of penance, and of life eternal 
in partaking of the Body and Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, in fine, 
the certainty of being in the true way which leads to life On the way 
to the scaffold the prisoner, still clasping the crucifix in his hands, per- 
formed the Catholic devotion of the "Stations of the Cross," the guards 
and accompanying throng of people stopping with him at each of the 
fourteen stations to allow him to pray, which he did with obvious recol- 
lection and compunction. On the scaffold his suffering seemed to last 
but an instant and he died with the crucifix in his hands. The execution 
took place April 26, 1832 37 

One would not suppose that the Springfield of 1835, with its two 
thousand residents, of whom not more than nine were Catholics, was a 
promising place for a college under the auspices of that religious denom- 
ination. 38 And yet the hope of such an institution in the future capital of 
Illinois appears to have been entertained at this time by Bishop Rosati. 
Father De Theux reported to the Bishop in March, 1835, in regard to 
the question of a college in Springfield that Father Verhaegen and him- 
self were opposed to the venture, deeming it impracticable in the exist- 
ing straitened condition of the Missouri Mission as regarded both men 
and material resources. In any case, the Indian mission would have to be 
opened first, as the Father General and even the Sacred Congregation 
of the Propaganda were urging that a start be made m this important 
field of labor as yet untouched by the Missouri Jesuits. And yet the 
Indian mission could not be started, as men and money were lacking 

As a consequence, all that remains for us to do m regard to Springfield 
is to write to the Father General and to pray, in union with your Lordship, 
that God may deign to give us the strength necessary to cooperate every- 
where and in every detail with the ardent zeal for the sheep of your flock 
with which you are devoured So to do, Monseigneur, we shall ever regard 
as a genuine honor and an integral part of our happiness In the meantime, 
believe me, Monseigneur, that if only we be permitted to go our humble way 
quietly and according to the measure of our strength, we shall, Deo dante 
tem^ore suo, be of real help to your immense diocese; contrariwise, push us 
and we shall accomplish nothing that is worth while It is to the desire of 
doing more than it was able to do that they attribute the state of languor in 
which the Society spent its first thirty years in Maryland. 39 

87 Ann. Prof, 7 105-108 

**Ped?s New Guide for Emigrants (1836), p. 305 "It [Springfield] is a 
flourishing inland town and contains about 2OOO inhabitants " 
39 De Theux a Rosati, Florissant, March 28, 1835. (C). 


In April of the following year, 1836, the question of a college in 
Springfield was again before De Theux and his consultors Conditions 
for the step, so it was thought, would not be ripe for the next ten years. 
No conclusion was therefore reached except that the matter be referred 
to the Father General. 40 The following month, however, Father Ver- 
haegen journeyed to Springfield with a view to obtaining first-hand 
information as to conditions in that rising town He took with him all 
that was necessary for the celebration of Mass in case he should find 
opportunity during his visit to perform the sacred rite, and before leav- 
ing solicited from Bishop Rosati a grant of faculties or spiritual jurisdic- 
tion. "I believe Springfield is in your diocese." 41 Shortly after return- 
ing to St Louis, his stay in the town having lasted but a few days, he 
let Bishop Rosati know of his experiences, trying at times, in a region 
which he described as only one-fourth civilized "I am well satisfied 
with my visit to Springfield Everything appears to be highly favorable 
to the progress of our Holy Religion. I saw all the gentlemen of influ- 
ence m the town and all, with one accord, are anxious to have a college 
established there, on a decent and limited plan but susceptible of pro- 
gressive improvement." However, writing to the General later, July 16, 
1836, Verhaegen expressed himself as not in favor of accepting any invi- 
tation at all to settle in Springfield, if indeed such invitation was ever 
to be tendered. As a matter of fact, he had found the townsfolk ambi- 
tious indeed to see a "literary institution" set up in their midst but 
divided as to what religious denomination should be asked to take it in 
hand. Some favored the Methodists, others, the Presbyterians, still 
others, the Episcopalians, some, finally, the Catholics, who, however, 
could claim only nine adherents m the place Moreover, Springfield, not 
yet the state capital, was a hundred miles from St Louis, and the road 
between the two towns was well-nigh impassible. The lapse of more 
than a century has seen the metropolis of Missouri and Abraham 
Lincoln's town brought together by a pleasant auto or railroad ride of 
a few hours But m 1836 a journey between the two was not an 
agreeable adventure as Verhaegen undertook to inform the General, 
taxing in the effort all the resources of his copious Latin vocabulary 
for vivid description. An English version of the graphic narrative may 
be attempted: 

I set off m a public stage. There were seats m it for six persons and we 
were nine. As a result, much crowding. The road runs now over high hills, 
now across the prairies, to which the eye can see no limit. So steep aie the 
hill-sides that, though a wheel of the coach was chained, it seemed to me that 

40 Verhaegen a Rosati, Ma/ 15, 1836 (C) 
41 Verhaegen a Rosati, May 22, 1836 (C) 


I was not rolling along but flying. Such things, however, have no tenois for 
the half-savage drivers, but for me and my fellow passengers they were, I 
must confess, a subject of constant alarm The state of Illinois is still very 
slightly cultivated The cabins which you see along the way give every 
evidence of extreme poveity and, indeed, travellers can scarcely find in 
them what they need in the way of food There is no better drink than good 
water, but this is a great rarity up there while the water that does abound 
is scarcely fit to drink The way over the prairie is not any too pleasant. 
Swarms of gnats besiege the stage-coach and the stagnant waters that lie 
across the road make it necessary for the passengers to proceed on foot 
through horrid places if they would not see the coach sink in the mire At 
the same time the prairies are not without features agreeable to the eye 
Deer running about here and there in the grass, prairie chickens, so they 
call them, on the wmg, large-sized snakes coming out of the thick of the 
grass and crossing the road, wolves running from the farm-houses, flowers 
of almost every kind and color lifting their heads above the meadow, if one 
would gaze on sights like these, he will find an abundance of them in the 
summer-time amid those prairies But when you have to put up for the 
night, all the other miseries of the journey pass out of memory I had to 
spend the first night m a room about 20 feet long by as many wide In it 
were four beds m which, besides myself, seven men had to sleep, two of 
them, who were sick, occupying the same bed. I was allowed to choose my 
companion for the night and lying on one of the beds with my clothes on I 
passed three hours dozing Moreover, the room being filled with an un- 
pleasant odor from various drugs suggested an apothecary's shop At three 
m the morning the horn blows, everybody makes ready for the journey and 
the coach starts off in the shades of night. A cow with a bell around its 
neck was lying down on the road The coach going at its usual speed drives 
straight for the cow One of the four horses falls, the cow catches its horns 
m the harness of the fallen horse and in the trappings of the coach and is 
badly wounded by one of the wheels The suffering animal groans and sets the 
bell a-nngmg The horses become terror-stricken and we are all in danger 
of our lives The driver shouts out that he can't keep the horses m any 
longer We all leap from the coach and seizing the horses 5 bridles do our 
best to hold the foaming steeds until the coach is out of trouble and we are 
able to resume the journey. Other discomforts along the way I omit to 

Nothing ever came of this early project of a Catholic college in 
Springfield. One or two years later, on the arrival of Father George 
Hamilton, the first resident priest of the town, the Catholic population 
of the place numbered only five families besides some seven or eight 
single persons In 1839, when the number had grown to thirteen or 
fourteen families with between forty and fifty single persons m addi- 
tion, a church was yet unbuilt despite the efforts of Father Hamilton 
to erect one. One wonders how the idea of a Catholic college m so 


unlikely a center for such an institution as Springfield at this period 
surely was ever came to be seriously entertained. 42 


How itinerant Jesuit missionaries, mtsstonant excurrentes, with head- 
quarters first at Florissant and afterwards at St Charles, evangelized 
both sides of the Missouri River as far west as Boonville in Cooper 
County, has been told above. The circuit, which embraced nineteen 
towns, most of them situated on the river, was covered as a unit in 
missionary trips of four or six weeks' duration up to 1838, after which 
date most of the stations were visited from the newly founded resi- 
dences of Washington in Franklin County and Westphalia in Osage 
County. It remains to sketch with brevity the ministry of the Jesuit 
missionaries on the Missouri border during the decade 1835-1845, when 
they were the only priests serving the Catholic settlers in that part 
of the West. 

On June 30, 1835, Father Van Quickenborne, whose name is a 
conspicuous one in the story of the pioneer Church on the Missouri 
border, arrived for the first time at Independence, a town in Jackson 
County three miles south of the Missouri River and ten miles east of 
its junction with the Kaw or Kansas River. Laid out as the seat of 
Jackson County in 1827, Independence four years later became the 
eastern terminus of the Santa Fe trade. The goods were shipped from 
the East in wagons over the Alleghames and then by water to Blue 
Mills or Independence Landing on the Missouri. They were next trans- 
ported in wagons drawn by mules or oxen or on pack-mules over the 
historic Santa Fe trail for a distance of eight hundred miles to the city 
of Santa Fe, then within Mexican territory. Independence prospered 
on this commerce, but only for a brief spell, the source of its wealth 
being soon diverted to enterprising little Westport with its better 
landing-place on the Missouri. When Independence saw its own landing- 
place at Blue Mills washed away by the great flood of 1 844, its dream 
of great commercial expansion vanished forever into thin air. 

To this bustling frontier town, then in the hey-dey of its short- 
lived prosperity, Van Quickenborne came in the June of 1835, being 
on his way to the Indian country to prospect for a mission-site among 
the native tribes. "As I found five or six Catholic families in this place, 
I stayed there a few days. A lady offered me her house for a chapel. 
I preached, celebrated the holy mysteries and had the consolation of 
seeing nearly all the Catholics avail themselves of the occasion to make 

42 Hamilton to Rosati, July 7, 1839. (C). 


their Easter duty." 43 Van Quickenborne was at Independence again 
in March, 1837, in the course of one of his periodical missionary excur- 
sions from the Kickapoo residence, which was opened in 1836. On this 
occasion he baptized John Birch and Mary Pollard, the latter condi- 
tionally, as she had previously been baptized by a Baptist clergyman 44 
In June, 1838, Father Verhaegen passed through Independence on his 
way to the Kickapoo and Potawatomi and on his return journey 
preached there one evening at the request of the residents, his topic, 
"Why I am a Catholic." 45 Father Aelen, on his way to Sugar Creek 
Mission, which was opened in 1838, baptized at Independence on May 
26, 1839, Mary Anne Cosgrove and Marcella Davy, Verhaegen stand- 
ing sponsor for the last named. 46 The following year Father De Smet, 
en route for the first time to the Rocky Mountains, baptized Lucille, a 
Negro slave belonging to Dr. Dillon of Independence. 47 Father 
Nicholas Point, during his stay at Westport from November, 1840, to 
April, 1841, attended to the needs of the few Catholics at Independence 
Subsequent to his departure from Westport, they were looked after by 
the priests of the Sugar Creek Mission. Father Verreydt, superior of 
that mission, visited Independence in July, August and December, 1 844, 
and in March and October, 1 845. 48 With the arrival of Father Bernard 

Prop, 9 96. Van Quickenborne was not the first priest to visit Inde- 
pendence Father Lutz had been there in 1828 and Father Roux m 1833* Garra- 
ghan, Catholic Beginnings in Kansas City, p. 63 

44 Kickapoo Baptismal Register The Kickapoo and Sugar Creek mission registers 
are in the Archives of St Mary's College, St Marys, Kansas 

45 Verhaegen a M , June 20, 1838 (A) 

46 Sugar Creek Baptismal Register, 1838-1850. (F). 

4)7 Kickapoo Baptismal Register Cited generally as Kickapoo Register. (F) 
48 Diary (Dianum) of Father Christian Hoecken This is in the archives of 
St Mary's College, Kansas For a translation of the Latin original cf the Dial, 
1891, a student publication of St Mary's College When Father Roux first arrived 
in Independence in November, 1833, he found there but two Catholic families, 
both named Roy. (Roux a Rosati, November 24, 1833 [C]) According to 
O'Hanlon, Life and Scenery in Missouri, 132, Thomas Davy settled in Inde- 
pendence m 1824. Father Roux's records make no mention of Independence as 
the locus of any of his baptisms The first recorded baptism for the place is that 
of John Birch, administered March 19, 1837, by Van Quickenborne (Kickapoo 
Register). On October 24 of the same year was baptized, also at Independence, 
Sarah, daughter of Cornelius Davy and Sarah Haskms Wakefield The Kickapoo 
Register contains three and the Sugar Creek Register eight Independence baptisms 
for the years 1837-1841 The names of Catholic residents of Independence found 
in these records include those of Cornelius Davy, Sarah Hoskins Wakefield, Anthony 
Cosgrove, Brigetta Gilchnst, Thomas McGuire, Maria Pollard, Dr. Dillon, Eliza- 
beth and Jane Montgomery, and Lucilla and Sally Davy. The baptism, April 19, 
1843, of Susan May, daughter of James McGill and Catherine Sanders, took place 
in Independence, Father Verreydt being the officiating clergyman. 


Donnelly in the town in 1845, the care of its Catholic residents passed 
into the hands of the diocesan clergy, the first Catholic church there, 
which bore the name of the Most Holy Redeemer, being erected in 
1 849 under his supervision 49 

Ten miles west of Independence, near the confluence of the Missouri 
and Kansas Rivers, had arisen the thriving town of Westport. It was 
laid out in 1833 by John Calvin McCoy, a surveyor, whose father, 
Isaac McCoy, was a Baptist minister conspicuous in early missionary 
enterprise along the Missouri frontier McCoy settled down at about 
the intersection of the Independence-Santa Fe road with the present 
Grand Avenue of Kansas City. The town soon assumed importance as 
an outfitting station and "jumping-off place," eventually wresting from 
its neighbor, Indpendence, the coveted prize of the Santa Fe trade. It 
had an excellent landing on the Missouri, known as Westport Landing, 
four miles to the north at the present foot of Grand Avenue in Kansas 
City. As late as 1 846 when Francis Parkman passed through Westport 
to begin his journey over the Oregon Trail, it was still a typical frontier 
town "Westport was full of Indians whose little shaggy ponies were 
tied by dozens along the houses and fences. Sacs and Foxes with shaved 
heads and painted faces, Shawnees and Delawares, in calico frocks and 
turbans, Wyandots dressed like white men and a few wretched Kanzas 
wrapped in old blankets, were strolling along the streets or lovmging 
in and out of the shops and houses " 60 

Only for a brief spell did Westport hold the prize of the Santa Fe 
trade. It was doomed to relinquish the booty into the hands of its 
younger rival, Kansas City. As early as 1821 Francis Gesseau (Jesse) 
Chouteau, a son of Pierre Chouteau, Senior, of St. Louis, established 
an agency of the American Fur Company opposite Randolph Bluffs on 
the right bank of the Missouri a few miles below its junction with the 
Kaw. Other Frenchmen, chiefly traders, trappers, laborers and voya- 
geurs, with their families, soon joined Chouteau, thus forming the first 
permanent white settlement on the site of Kansas City In 1828 a land 
office was opened in Boonville, Cooper County, and settlers began to 
purchase farms. In 1831 Gabriel Prudhomme, whose daughter Father 
Point, the Jesuit, was in later years to marry to Louis Turgeon, entered 
271 77 acres of government land The tract passed out of possession 
o the Prudhomme family m 1838. By an order of the Circuit Court 
of Jackson County, issued m August of that year at the petition of 
Prudhomme's heirs, his farm was advertised for sale m the Missouri 
Republican of St. Louis and The Far West of Liberty. It was sold to a 
stock-company for forty-two hundred and twenty dollars. The land was 

49 St Louis News Letter, May I, 1847 

co Parkman, Oiegon Trail (Boston, 1882), p. 4. 


at once subdivided into lots and called Kansas (later, at successive inter- 
vals, Town of Kansas, City of Kansas, Kansas City) But the town- 
building project lay dormant until 184.6 when the stock-company dis- 
posed at public sale of one hundred and twenty-four lots at an average 
price of about fifty-five dollars each. The town started at once to develop 
rapidly, reaching within a few months a population of four or five 
hundred. It was first officially organized May 3, 1847 The chief cause 
of its early development was the Santa Fe trade, which had been 
diverted almost entirely from Westport as early as 1850, during which 
year six hundred wagons started westward from the Town of Kansas 
to the ancient Spanish capital. In 1889 the Town of Kansas adopted 
the style "Kansas City" and in 1899 it absorbed Westport within its 
corporate limits. 51 

The first Catholic priest to visit the locality which is now Kansas 
City and there exercise the sacred ministry was Father Joseph Lutz of 
the diocese of St. Louis, who in 1828 resided for a while as a missionary 
among the Kansa Indians at their village on the banks of the Kaw River 
some sixty-five miles above its mouth. 52 After Father Lutz came Father 
Benedict Roux, also of the St Louis diocese, who arrived at "Kaws- 
mouth" November 14, i833. 53 Roux lived with Francis and Cyprian 
Chouteau, brothers of Frederick Chouteau, at their trading house on 
the Kaw River about ten miles above its mouth until the summer of 
1834 when he moved into a small dwelling-house situated two miles 
from the chapel. 54 The chapel, a house located somewhere on the site 
of the future Kansas City, was rented in the beginning of February, 
1834, by the Catholic congregation, which consisted of twelve French, 
two American and two Indian families. Already on Christmas Day, 
1833, Father Roux, vested in cassock, surplice and stole, had preached 
to the assembled Catholics in the house of an American resident placed 
at his disposal for the occasion. On the second Sunday of Lent, Febru- 
ary 23, 1834, he performed his first baptisms, thirteen in number, the 
names of the first four children baptized being Martha Roy, Adeline 

B1 Garraghan, Catholic Beginnings in Kansas City, pp 13-21, Conard, En- 
cyclopedia of the History of Missouri, 3 486 A later settlement than Francis 
Chouteau's, consisting largely of Indians and half-breeds who came down from 
the Rocky Mountain region, was formed at Kawsmouth or West Bottoms on the 
low level ground that skirts the right bank of the Kaw at its junction with the 
Missouri. Barns, Commonwealth of Missouri^ p. 749 

52 The SLCHR, 5 183, contains an account from original sources of the 
"Abbe Joseph Anthon/ Lutz" by F S Holweck A letter of Lutz's in the Ann 
Prof, 3*556 (English tr. in SLCHR y z 77) is the earliest record extant of the 
exercise of the Catholic ministry along the Kansas River, 1828 

53 Garraghan, of cit , p. 43 

54 Kansas Historical Collections, 9* 573-574 


Prudhomme, Martha Lessert and Amelia Roy. 55 On the following 
Easter Sunday he said Mass publicly for the first time before the con- 
gregation Meantime, property was acquired by Father Roux as a site 
for a church and presbytery. On this property some time after his 
departure from the West in the spring of 1835, a log church, twenty 
by thirty feet m size, with presbytery, was erected, largely with money 
furnished for the purpose by the Chouteaus, a circumstance which led to 
its being called "Chouteau's Church." 56 This pioneer shrine of Catholic 
worship on the Missouri border stood a few yards from the site of 
the Catholic cathedral in Kansas City, at what is now the intersection of 
Pennsylvania Avenue and Eleventh Street. 57 

Father Roux, after being in charge of the Catholic settlers at the 
"mouth of the Kansas" from November, 1833, to the spring of 1835, 
was transferred to Kaskaskia His baptisms on the Missouri border range 
from February 23, 1834, to April 25, 1835. They were forty-eight in 
number, thirty-six of whites, seven of Negroes and five of Indians 
March 15, 1834, he baptized Elizabeth Boone, and on April 19, 1835, 
Eulalie Boone, daughters of Daniel Morgan Boone, son of the pioneer 
Daniel Boone, and reputed first white settler on or near the site of 
Kansas City. 58 

Within a few months after Roux's departure for St. Louis, Father 
Van Quickenborne, on July 3, 1835, appeared at the French settle- 
ment at Kawsmouth in the course of the same prospecting trip of which 
mention was made in connection with Independence. 59 It was the first 
recorded visit of a Jesuit priest to the locality which has since become 
Kansas City. On July 15, 1835, he baptized in "Chouteau's Church," 
Louis, son of Clement Lessert and Julie Roy, the god-parents being 
Benjamin Chouteau and Therese Tullie. On July 18, he baptized 
Cyprian, son of Cyprian Ternen and Louise Valle, the god-parents, 
Gabriel and Marie Prudhomme. 60 With the establishment of the Kicka- 

55 Transcript of Roux's baptisms, Kansas City Diocesan Archives, Kansas 
City, Mo 

56 The log-church had been built prior to 1837 Garraghan, of cit , p. 66 

57 For description of the church see St Louis News Letter, May 1 , 1 847 
"The church measures thirty feet m length by twenty in width, of a proportionate 
height and is surmounted by a humble imitation of what was designed for a cupola 
with a cross above " This pioneer house of Catholic worship m Kansas City, first 
designated in contemporary baptismal records as "Chouteau's Church at the mouth 
of the Kansas River," was known as early as 1839 under the title of St France 
Regis. For a drawing of the church by Father Point cf Garraghan, 0$. ctt , p 102. 

68 Transcript of Roux's baptisms. Kansas City Diocesan Archives. 

59 Ann Prop, g 96 

60 Kickafoo Register (F). Garraghan, of *., 93, 94 


poo Mission in 1836 the French Catholics at the mouth of the Kaw were 
visited at intervals from the mission-house. 

In July, 1836, Van Quickenborne was again at the mouth of the 
Kaw baptizing and marrying. The records of the ceremonies he per- 
formed on this occasion are entered in his own hand in the Ktck&poo 
Register. On July 1 8 he baptized fourteen mixed-blood Indian children, 
omitting the non-essential ceremonies because the holy oils were not 
on hand. Of these, some were Flatheads, others Kutenai, still others 
Iroquois, all belonging, it would appear, to the group of Rocky Moun- 
tain Indians and mixed-bloods who had come down the Missouri in 
1831 or earlier and settled at the West Bottoms on the right bank of 
the Kaw near its mouth. 61 On the same day he performed two marriage 
rites, the earliest recorded in the history of Kansas City "July 18, 1836, 
dispensation having been given in the three publications for just rea- 
sons, I have received the consent of marriage of Benjamin Lagauthene, 
son of Victor, and of Charlotte Gray, daughter of John and Marianne 
[Gray], both Iroquois, and have given them the nuptial blessing accord- 
ing to the rites of our Holy Mother, the Church, in presence of Louis 
Monn and Marianne Gray. Done at the mouth of the Kansas River, 
State of Missouri, July 18, 1836. Cs. F. Van Quickenborne, S. J." 
"July 1 8, 1836, Clement Liserte [Lessert] and Julie Roy renew con- 
sent of marriage contracted some years before, when there was no 
resident priest." November 22 of the same year Van Quickenborne 
married Prosper Marcier and Mane Louise Prudhomme. "Faite a 
Veglise de Mr. Choute&u a P entree de la nviere des Kans, dans Vetat du 
Missouri" On March 19, 1837, he married Pierre Penalt and Mar- 
guarette [sic] Desnoyers of the Kutenai nation, the record of the cere- 
mony being in English. "Done at Chouteau's Church at the mouth of 
the Kansas river, State of Missouri " 62 

Father Van Quickenborne's last recorded visit to Kawsmouth oc- 
curred on May 28, 1837, on which occasion he administered three 
baptisms. Altogether he had administered forty-one baptisms in "Chou- 

61 Van Quickenborne m a letter dated Kickapoo Village, October 4, 1836 
(Ann Prop, 10 144) has the following account of the settlement in West Bot- 
toms. "Twelve families have lately come down from the Rocky Mountains They 
are living at present at the junction of the Kansas and Missouri, about 40 miles 
from our village I have visited them twice, they came with the intention of not 
returning and of looking to the salvation of their souls At my first visit they 
all asked to be married according to the Catholic rite I thought their baptisms 
and marriages should be deferred on account of their inconstancy and lack of 
instruction, but on my second visit I found them all sick and, in despair of being 
able to live here, they were talking of going back to their mountains " 

62 Ktckafoo Register. (F) . No record of marriages by either Father Lutz or 
Father Roux at Kansas City is extant 


teau's Church/ 3 all duly entered by him in the Kickafoo Register. After 
his withdrawal from the field the Catholic Creoles at the mouth of the 
Kaw still continued to be served by the fathers resident at the Kickapoo 
Mission. Van Quickenborne's successor as superior of the mission, 
Father Christian Hoecken, administered eight baptisms in "Chouteau's 
Church/ 7 one on October 2, 1837, and seven on May 27, i838. 63 In 
the same church Joseph Papin and Mary Cave were married October 25., 
1837, by Father Verreydt. The last baptismal entry in the Ktckwpoo 
Register for "Chouteau's Church" is dated September 8, 1839, the offi- 
ciating minister being Father Anthony Eysvogels, third superior of the 
Kickapoo Mission, under whom it was closed in the autumn of 1 840 64 

The first series of missionary visits to the Catholics at the mouth of 
the Kaw, carried on by Jesuit priests from the Kickapoo Mission, was 
followed in 1839 by a second series carried on from the Sugar Creek 
Potawatomi Mission as center, and lasting until 1 846, when the diocesan 
priest, Father Bernard Donnelly, shifted his headquarters from Inde- 
pendence to the site of Kansas City. The Sugar Creek Register shows a 
number of baptisms for that locality Four are recorded for as early a 
date as June 2, 1839, "in ecclesia prope opftdum cm nomen Westyort" 
("in the church near the town called Westport"). 

The historic log building erected on the property purchased by 
Father Roux and first designated in the records as "Chouteau's Church" 
was soon to bear the title of one of the Catholic Church's canonized 
saints. Under date of September 25, 1839, Father Herman Aelen, 
superior of the Sugar Creek Mission, in a communication to Bishop 
Rosati, submitted the following points of inquiry "What was the title 
of the Church formerly administered by the Rev. Mr. Roux in West- 
port? Should the new church m that place be dedicated to God under 
the same title? If no title existed, may the present structure be dedi- 
cated under the invocation of St. Francis Regis?" 65 Though no answer 
from Rosati to these inquiries is on record, it may reasonably be inferred 
that the prelate acceded to Father Aelen's request that the church be 
named for St. Francis Regis At all events, within less than two months 
of his communication to the Bishop, Aelen began to designate the West- 
port church by the title, St. Francis Regis In an entry dated November 

63 Father Christian Hoecken, born February 28, 1808, at Tilburg in Holland, 
entered the Society of Jesus at White Marsh, Maryland, November 5, 1832, died 
of cholera on a Mississippi steamer near Council Bluffs, June 21, 1851 Remterred 
in the Jesuit cemetery, Florissant, Mo 

64 Father Anthony Eysvogels, born at Oss, Province of North Brabant, Holland, 
January 13, 1809, entered the Society of Jesus, December 31, 1835, died at 
New Westphalia, Osage Co, Mo, July 7, 1857. 


District served during the decade 1836-1846 by Jesuit missionary priests resident 
at the Kickapoo, Council Bluffs or Sugar Creek Indian missions Places indicated 
on the map were among those where the missionaries exercised their ministry, as 
attested by their baptismal and other records With the arrival m 1 846 of Reverend 
Bernard Donnelly at Independence and of Reverend Thomas Scanlan at St. Joseph 
the district was thereafter served by the diocesan clergy. Compiled by G J Gar- 
raghan, drawn by J P Markoe 

J>0n t . 



The church and rectory of St Francis Regis ("Chouteau's Church") on site of 
Kansas City, Missouri. The city's first house of worship Sketch by its pastor, Nich- 
olas Point, S J 3 in his Souvenirs des Montagnes Rocheuses, Archives of St Mary's 
College, Montreal 

f* c/ Sf<*/oi 


6 e&n.' 


jy o 



> sz-ttfy "&as u^+** 


Record of the marriage of Benjamin Lagauthene and Charlotte Gray. Apparently 
the earliest recorded marriage within the limits of what is now Kansas City, Mis- 
souri From the Kickafoo Mission Register^ Archives of St Mary's College, St 
Marys, Kansas. 


J 7> l8 39? m th e Sugar Creek Register he writes, m ecclesia S. F. 
Regis fro^e ofpdum Westfort" ("in the church of St Francis Regis 
near the town of Westport") Thenceforth references to the log church 
under that title are frequently met with in the ministerial records 
of the period. Thus the Kickapoo Register records a marriage per- 
formed by Father De Smet April 20, 1840, "dans Veglise de St 
Francis Regis a Westyort" while the Sugar Creek Register records a 
baptism administered by Father Aelen May 9, 1841, "m ae&ibus S. 
Francisci Regis prope offidum Westyort " Aelen baptized on this occa- 
sion Emilie, daughter of P. P. McGee, the god-parents being Benedict 
Troost and Madame Therese B Chouteau. 

In 1 840 Westport again had its own resident Catholic pastor though 
his stay there lasted but a few months. The Annual Letters of the Mis- 
souri Mission for that year note that a priest had long been needed to 
minister to the white settlers along the Missouri border. To Father 
Nicholas Point was now assigned this important duty He was a native 
Frenchman attached to the Jesuit Mission of Louisiana, which had been 
incorporated into the Missouri Mission in 1838, and he had been 
founder and first rector of St. Charles College at Grand Coteau in 
Louisiana. Early in 1840 he was relieved of his rectorship and sum- 
moned to St. Louis, where Father Verhaegen appointed him a com- 
panion to De Smet m the projected Rocky Mountain Mission. Pending 
the return of De Smet from his prospecting tour to the mountains, 
Point was assigned to parochial and missionary duty at the mouth of the 
Kansas. He left St. Louis October 24, 1840, and arrived November i, 
at Westport Landing, where he took in charge the parish of St. Francis 
Regis, established by his predecessor, Father Roux. Point remained at 
this post until May 10, 1841, when he joined Fathers De Smet and 
Mengarim on their way west to establish the first of the Catholic 
Oregon missions The months that he spent at Westport were crowded 
with works of charity and zeal, of which he has left a record in his 
memoirs. 66 

I was sent to Westport to exercise the holy ministry there until the 
return of Father De Smet. The district in which I took up my abode was 
peopled by an assemblage of twenty-three families, each family group com- 
prising a Frenchman with his Indian wife and half-breed children 67 Imme- 
diately upon my arrival these people found a place m my sympathies, for 

66 Kickapoo Register. (F) Father Point, after spending six years in the Rocky 
Mountain Mission, was recalled by his superior to Canada, where he died at Quebec^ 
July 4, 1868. For his career m the Rocky Mountains cf, infra. Chap. XXVI, I, 
Mid-America^ 13 236 For extracts from his memoirs, cf WL, 12 4-22, 133-137. 

67 In Father Roux's time (1833-1835) the French families numbered twelve. 
Roux a Rosati, June 27, 1834. (C). 


albeit veiy poor they had somehow contrived to build themselves a church, 
and again and again they had asked for a priest before succeeding in getting 
one It was well enough that I had sympathy to spare, there being no lack 
of ills awaiting cure at my hands What with the ignorance of some, the 
drunkenness of others, the sensuality of almost all, there was misery enough 
to inspire zeal m the most laggard of missionaries 

I went to work with great confidence, the more so, because I had found 
the sovereign remedy for ills of this sort lay m a little good will and in the 
use of one's common sense Another consideration also had much weight m 
animating me with confidence, who could tell but that in God's provi- 
dence this town, small as it now was, might some day attain to distinction' 
Even as it was, Westport was the gathering point for all expeditions to 
Mexico, California and the Rocky Mountains, and it was no uncommon 
thing for travellers to sojourn there for weeks and weeks together Easter 
time generally brought great numbers of people hither, and I often thought, 
if only the Easter holidays had been kept as by right they should have been, 
what an influence for good had been gained over the travellers and through 
them over the savages. 

I landed at Westport on All Saints' day just as cold weather was setting 
m The cold of winter, by the by, lasts until Easter, and at times it was so 
intense as to freeze the chalice even when the altar had a chafing-dish full 
of live coals placed at either end Yet neither the severe cold, nor long dis- 
tances, nor bad roads were obstacles formidable enough to prevent the people 
from coming to church, where on Sundays and festivals you could make 
sure of seeing them crowding the little house not only at the time of Mass 
but also during the other services 

Meanwhile, one of my chief cares was to keep my ministry high m 
repute with all To this end I tried to be as slight a burden as possible on 
the community. 

As the children's piety depends greatly on that of their mothers, I under- 
took to increase the store of piety of the latter by establishing a sodality of 
married women in honor of Our Lady of the Seven Dolors Soon after I 
formed another for young girls under the patronage of Mary Immaculate 
These young girls I found to be very modest, and so remarkable for natural 
piety and goodness ... It is a fact that m all the twenty-three families 
living here, there was not a young girl whose moral conduct was not above 
reproach, and this marvel took place m a section where man's licentious 
nature brooked no bounds A few of these young persons, encouraged by the 
example of a pious widow, took it upon themselves to make some artificial 
flowers for the church and I can say with truth that the work of their 
hands was not to be despised 

Before Lent it happened that I made mention of the prayers of the 
Foity Hours Devotion, immediately, men, women, children, all offered to 
make in turn their hour of adoration and during the three days several 
persons were constantly before the Blessed Sacrament The novena m honor 
of St Francis Xavier, the patron of our parish, had also a large attendance 
of people, it consisted in having evening prayers and an instruction m the 


church At the close of this novena, as was also the case at Christmas, two- 
thirds of the congregation received Holy Communion. 

On the Sunday before my departure, all the married women belonging 
to the sodality of the Seven Dolors, the members of the young women's 
sodality, and all the children who had made their First Communion, ap- 
proached the Holy Table In the afternoon there was the blessing of beads, 
medals and pictures, the premiums for catechism were distributed Benedic- 
tion of the Blessed Sacrament followed, and finally a large cross was 
erected in the grave-yard. In the evening I administered the last consola- 
tions of religion to a man who had given to his wife and children the most 
beautiful example of faith and resignation during his sickness, and whose last 
recommendation was an expression of the most tender confidence in the 
Blessed Virgin. The day befoie, for the first time since my arrival at West- 
port, I had caused the consecrated earth to be opened in order to receive the 
mortal remains of her who had been first prefect of the sodality She had had 
the consolation during the course of the last year to see all her children and 
grandchildren approach the Sacraments. 

Only three marriages took place while I was at Westport, but they were 
in truth marriages, where the contracting parties were all in those disposi- 
tions which it is to be wished that the children of the Church should ever 
possess 68 Thus from the first day of my new career, did God still support 
my feeble steps by giving me new proofs of the care which He takes of those 
who put their trust in Him. 

With the departure of Father Point from Westport, the duty of 
visiting the parish devolved upon the Sugar Creek missionaries, who 
thus attended it up to the arrival in 1846 of Father Bernard Don- 
nelly of the St Louis diocesan clergy. The priest whose name appears 
most frequently in the Westyort Register during this period is Father 
Verreydtj superior at Sugar Creek from 1841 to 1848. Ministerial visits 
of his to Westport are recorded for July, August, and December, 1 844, 
and for March and September, 1845 His name is almost the only one 
signed to Westport baptisms from October 7, 1841, to September 28, 
1845. He was there as late as April, 1846, when, at the request of 
Bishop Barren, he came up from Sugar Creek to enable the French 
settlers at Westport to discharge their Easter duty. 69 Verreydt was 
virtually the pastor of Westport during the interval between the depar- 
ture of Father Point and the arrival of Father Donnelly. In November, 

68 The three marriages are entered by Point in the West fort- Register. (F). 
Names and dates are as follows. Moise Bellemaire and Adele Lessert, January 7, 
184.1, Jean Baptiste de Velder and Marie Frangoise Cadron, February 8, 1841, 
Louis Turgeon and Marguerite Prudhomme, April 29, 1841. 

89 Father Hoecken's Diary (Dtarum). (F) Bishop Barron, Vicar-apostolic of 
the two Guianas, was at this time making a confirmation tour through Missouri 
under commission from Bishop Kennck of St. Louis 


18465 Father Donnelly was installed at "Chouteau's Church" (St 
Francis Regis) as resident pastor and with his arrival the pioneer Jesuit 
ministry at the mouth of the Kansas came to an end, 70 


During the period 1836-1840 the Missouri counties lying along the 
western limits of the state and north of the Missouri were visited 
periodically by the Kickapoo missionaries. In a trip through Clay, Clin- 
ton, Platte and Jackson Counties in 1838 one of their number heard 
sixty confessions, administered twenty baptisms and prepared twelve 
children for their first reception of the Eucharist. 71 Liberty, the seat of 
Clay County, contained at this time fourteen stores and four groceries 
and had a newspaper of its own, the Far West The first Catholic 
priest known to have visited it was Father Joseph Lutx, which he did 
in 1828 He was followed by Father Benedict Roux, who arrived in the 
town for the first time on November 4, 1833 Roux performed seven 
baptisms in Clay County in June and September of 1 834 73 On Novem- 
ber 22, 1837, Father Christian Hoecken, then resident at the Kickapoo 
Mission, baptized at Liberty, William Riley, Ann Virginia Curtis, and 
Josephine Esther Curtis. 74 

The counties comprised m what was known as the Platte Purchase 
owe the earliest exercise of the Catholic ministry within their borders 
to the Jesuits of the Kickapoo and Sugar Creek Missions. When Mis- 
souri came into the Union in 1821, the straight line that forms its west- 
ern boundary south of Kansas City continued due north. The triangular 
strip lying between this original western boundary of the state, the 
Iowa line, and the Missouri River, was formerly a part of Iowa Terri- 
tory, though inhabited by Iowa, Sauk and Fox Indians, who claimed 
its ownership. The Potawatomi Indians, before occupying their reser- 
vation in the Council Bluffs district, settled for a while on this tri- 
angle. 75 Here, in their camp opposite Fort Leavenworth, they were 
visited in January, 1837, by Van Quickenborne, who found their pnn- 

70 Additional details concerning the ministry of the Jesuit fathers in early 
Kansas City are in Garraghan, Catholic Beginnings in Kansas City, Missouri. 

71 Litterae Annuae, 1838 (A) . 

72 Wetmore, Gazetteer of Missouri, p. 59. 

73 Transcript of Roux's baptisms Kansas City Diocesan Archives 

74 Kickafoo Register. (F) When Father Roux first visited Liberty in 1833, 
Mrs Benoist with the families of her two sons-in-law, Messrs Riley and Curtis, 
were the only Catholic residents in the place. Father Lutz m 1828 found only 
one Catholic in Liberty, Mrs Curtis. 

75 Charles H Babbitt, Early Days at Council Bluffs (Washington, 1916), 
p. 26. 


cipal business chief, William or "Billy" Caldwell o Chicago, as also a 
number of his tribesmen, to be Catholics. 76 Nature had been lavish of 
her gifts in this wedge-shaped section of land. The soil was excellent, 
game abundant, timber not scarce. To the pioneer farmers of the border 
counties, who saw themselves cut off by this intervening agricultural 
paradise from easy access to the Missouri River, it offered a tempting 
bait. Moreover, the Indians were troublesome neighbors and their re- 
moval beyond the Missouri seemed imperative for the white man's 
peace In response, accordingly, to a petition from the Missouri counties 
adjacent to the lands of the Sauk and Foxes, a bill, framed and intro- 
duced by Senator Benton, was passed by Congress in June, 1836, author- 
izing the purchase of the triangular strip from the Indians and its 
subsequent annexation to the state of Missouri. Treaty negotiations with 
the Iowa, Sauk and Foxes for the transfer of their lands were success- 
fully conducted by General William Clark of St Louis The Platte 
Purchase, so called from a river of the same name which flows through 
northwestern Missouri into the Missouri River (not, therefore, identical 
with the larger Platte River of Nebraska) contained over three thou- 
sand square miles, which were organized between the years 1838 and 
1 845 into the six counties, Platte, Buchanan, Andrew, Holt, Nodaway 
and Atchison. 77 

More than half the population of these six counties is concentrated 
today in the city of St. Joseph, the founder of which was Joseph Robi- 
doux, a native St Louisan and merchant fur-trader by occupation On 
his way up the Missouri to trade with the Indians, this successful man of 
business of the frontier period noted that at Blacksnake Hills, as the 
Indians named the place, there was a crossing of the river where the 
natives were accustomed to hold their pow-wows. Here he established 
in 1827 a trading post at what is now the intersection of Jule and Main 
Streets in the city of St. Joseph. In 1830 he acquired all the land on 
which the future city was to rise. Robidoux's Landing, the name the 
trading-post originally went by, attracted so many settlers that Robidoux 
had a plat made out for a town to be called St. Joseph, which he sent 
to St. Louis, where it was duly recorded in 1843. The founder of 
St. Joseph, dying in 1864, had lived to see it a town of twenty thousand 
inhabitants. 78 

The history of the Catholic Church in the Platte Purchase begins 
with the visit of Father Van Quickenborne to a Potawatomi camp 
opposite Fort Leavenworth in the present Platte County, Missouri. 
There, on January 29, 1837, he baptized fourteen Indian children, the 

76 Kickafoo Register. (F) 

77 Carr, Missouri, pp 185, 1 86 

78 Conard, Cyclopedia of the History of Missouri, 5: 4.39. 


first of the number being Susanna, the daughter of Claude La Fram- 
boise and a Potawatomi woman This would seem to be the earliest 
recorded baptism in the territory known as the Platte Purchase. The 
first recorded Catholic marriage in the Purchase also took place in the 
Potawatomi camp, where on May 13, 1837, Van Quickenborne joined 
in wedlock Michael La Pomte and Mane La Framboise "of the Pota- 
watomi nation " Concluding the marriage-entry in the Ktckapoo Register 
is the missionary's attestation, "Done at the Potawatomi Camp opposite 
Fort Leavenworth in the State of Missouri." 79 

Catholicism in St. Joseph, Buchanan County, the metropolis of the 
Platte Purchase, may be said to date its beginning from the visit in 
May, 1838, of Father De Smet, then on his way up the Missouri with 
Father Verreydt to open a mission at Council Bluffs. "We stopped for 
two hours at the Blacksnake Hills. There I had a long talk with Joseph 
Robidoux, who keeps a store and runs his father's fine farm He showed 
me a great deal of affection and kindness and expressed a wish to build 
a little chapel there if his father can manage to get some French families 
to come and settle near them. The place is one of the finest on the 
Missouri for the erection of a city." 80 

The first Mass on the site of St. Joseph was said in the house of 
Joseph Robidoux by a visiting Jesuit missionary, probably Father 
Eysvogels, some time m the course of i838. 81 Eysvogels is the first 
Jesuit whose name is distinctly connected with the exercise of the 
Catholic ministry in Buchanan County. He was in or in the immediate 
vicinity of Buchanan County at least as early as 1839. On May 30 of 
that year he baptized Sophie Hickman, the place of the ceremony 
being described in the Ktckapoo Register simply as "the Platte." The 
next day, May 31, he united in marriage John Byrne O'Toole, son of 
James O'Toole and Abigail Wilson, and Sophie Weston Hickman, 
daughter of Thomas Hickman and Sara Prewett. The marriage appar- 
ently took place, though of this circumstance there is no direct evidence, 
at the bride's home m Buchanan County. Father Eysvogels notes in the 
record of the marriage that after the ceremony Mass was celebrated. 82 
James O'Toole, father of the bridegroom, was one of the earliest among 
the Irish settlers of the Platte Purchase. A pen-picture of him has 
been left by Canon O'Hanlon, author of the scholarly Lives of the 

79 Kickapoo Register. (F) 

80 CR, De Smet y i 151 Young Joseph Robidoux, whom Father De Smet met 
on this occasion, was a student at St Louis University during the years 1829-1833. 

81 Catholic Encyclopedia, 13 356 

82 Eysvogels's marriages in Buchanan County were entered by him in the 
Kickafoo Register. 


Insh Samts, who, while yet a theological student, spent the winter of 
1846-1847 at St Joseph m search of health 8 * 

What was probably the earliest marriage in St Joseph (originally 
Blacksnake Hills) by a Catholic priest was that of a Miss Marechal, 
March 12, 1841, the bridegroom's name not being recorded On March 
14 followed the marriage of Caesar Ducas and Clarice Ducas, Father 
Christian Hoecken, then stationed at Council Bluffs, being the officiating 
priest on both occasions. 84 

Father Eysvogels was again in Buchanan Count} , baptizing and 
performing other functions of the ministry, in October, 1839, March, 
1840, and February, 1841. In March, 1841, he was at Weston in Platte 
County. In a missionary trip which lasted from Julj 8, 1842, to 
November 20, 1842, he administered twentj-two baptisms, visiting on 
this occasion Clay County, English Grove in Holt County, Blacksnake 
Hills, Buchanan County, Third Ford of the Platte, Kickapoo Village, 
Platte County, Fishermg River in Ray County, and Lexington, Mo. 
In 1843 Father Christian Hoecken baptized eleven persons between 
May 28 and July 9, the locus for all these baptisms being recorded as 
the "Platte Purchase." 85 

The first mention of St. Joseph in the Catholic Almanac occurs in 
the issue for 1845. It is there stated that a church was in course of 
erection, the attendant priest being Father Anthony Eysvogels, who also 
visited Irish Grove, German Settlement, Liberty and Weston 86 More- 
over, the register of the Missouri Vice-province for 1845 records a 
mission at St, Joseph (Mtssio ad S. Joseph) , with Eysvogels in charge 
and with Westport, Weston and Independence as visited stations. It is 
not likely that Eysvogels ever actually resided at St. Joseph. It was 
decided at St Louis by Father Van de Velde, the vice-provincial, and 
his consultors, April n, 1844, that nothing could be done at that time 
for the "new church and congregation of St. Joseph at Blacksnake 
Hills," though possibly a determination may have been reached later 
on to station Father Eysvogels at St. Joseph. At all events, the first 
Catholic church in St Joseph, if not actually begun, was completed 
only after the arrival m the town m 1 846 of the diocesan priest, Rever- 
end Thomas Scanlan. An account of the church, which stood at Fifth 
and Felix Streets and was dedicated by Archbishop Kennck June 17, 

83 O'Hanlon, Life and Scenery in Missouri Reminiscences of a Missions y 
Priest (Dublin, 1890), pp 127-132 

^Council Bluffs Mission Register. (F). In the marriage of Miss Marechal, 
Father Hoecken made use of a dispensation from the matrimonial impediment 
disfantas cultus, the bridegroom having, it would seem, been unbaptized 

85 Sugar Creek Register. (F) Cf mfra, Chap XXIII, 7 

86 Irish Grove, now Milton, Atchison Co , Mo German Settlement, probably 
Deepwater, Henry Co , Mo Weston, Platte Co , Mo. 


1847, was penned by the seminarian O'Hanlon, who was residing in 
St Joseph at the time of its erection 

Among the most enterprising and intelligent traders in that town, Mr 
John Corby, an Irish Catholic and a native of Limerick, had started a 
successful business house, well stocked with general merchandise and having 
large stores for country produce provided for export and import goods He 
was then unmarried, and he proposed to maintain a resident priest in his 
house until a Catholic church was built, and a parochial dwelling could be 
provided Mr Robidoux was willing to grant an eligible site, and accordingly, 
application having been made to the Bishop of St Louis, the Reverend 
Thomas Scanlan, a native of Tipperary, was selected to open a mission and 
there to reside A small but handsome brick church was soon commenced and 
the work of building proceeded very rapidly, while a temporary place of 
worship was provided in the town 87 

Father De Smet was a visitor in St Joseph while Father Scanlan's 
church was in process of erection. "Eastward and at the foot of these 
hills [Blacksnake] stands the town of St Joseph. We reached there 
on the 23 of November, 1 846, and paid a visit to the respectable curate, 
Rev. Mr. Scanlan. In 1842 [ ? ] St. Joseph did not exist, there was only 
a single family there. To-day there are 350 houses, 2 churches, a city 
hall and a jail, it is in the most prosperous condition Its population is 
composed of Americans, French Creoles, Irish and Germans." 88 

With the arrival in 1 846 of Father Donnelly at Westport Landing, 
the future Kansas City, and of Father Scanlan in St. Joseph, the work 
of the pioneer Jesuit missionaries among the Catholic settlers of western 
Missouri came to a close It had extended over a period of eleven years, 
beginning with the first visit of Van Quickenborne in 1835 to Inde- 
pendence and the mouth of the Kansas River. 

87 O'Hanlon, of cit , p 1 06 Though O'Hanlon says plainly that the first 
church in St Joseph was commenced only after Father Scanlan began to reside 
in the town (1846), the contemporary notices cited above would seem to indicate 
that a Catholic church of some kind was in course of construction in St Joseph 
before that date Probably the notices refer merely to plans and preparations for 
a new church that were carried out only at a later date 

88 CR, DeSmtt, 2 612 



In a letter dated May 24, 1823, exactly one week before Father Van 
Quickenborne and his party crossed the Mississippi and entered St. 
Louis for the first time, Father Rosati, at that time superior of the 
Lazanst seminary at the Barrens in Perry County, Missouri, wrote of 
the little band of Jesuits who were just then toiling along the muddy 
roads of southern Illinois "We are expecting them every day. The 
colony will be a nursery of missionaries for the Indians and perhaps 
in the course of time a means of procuring for the youth of these parts 
a solid and Christian education." x Six years later the hope entertained 
by Rosati that the Jesuits would take up and promote the cause of Chris 
tian education in the West was realized. 

It was felt no doubt from the beginning both by the superior of 
the Maryland Mission and by Bishop Du Bourg that the group of 
Jesuits settled at St Ferdinand were destined to exercise their zeal and 
energy before no long time in the field of education. The question of 
a college, it is safe to say, had been among the matters discussed be- 
tween them at the time the Missouri Mission was formally set on foot. 
The Concordat, however, stipulates nothing in regard to education as 
it did in specific terms in regard to the Indian missions, though it 
does contain the sweeping declaration that "the Bishop of New Orleans 
cedes and surrenders to the Society of Jesus for ever, as soon and in 
proportion as its increase of members enables it to undertake the same 
. . . all . . . the colleges and seminaries of learning already erected 
and which shall hereafter be erected" on the Missouri River and its 
tributary streams. Already in 1819 Bishop Du Bourg had proposed to 
the Maryland Jesuits the opening of a college at Franklin in Missouri. 2 
Now that the Society of Jesus was established in his diocese, he was 
quick to broach the subject of a school under its auspices in the chief 
city of Missouri. 

1 Ann. Prof. (Louvain ed), 1:476. This chapter appeared in part in the 
SLCHR, i 85-102 

2 Hughes, History of the Society of Jesus %n North America, Colonial and. 
Federal, Doc, 2 1013. 



What appears to be the earliest utterance of the prelate on the 
matter in question is in a letter of November 27, 1823, addressed to 
the Maryland superior. Father Francis Neale 

I would feel disposed to give your Society two beautiful squares of 
ground m the city of St. Louis and to help in the erection of a house for an 
academy as a preparation for a college, if you thought you could spare a 
couple of jour Maryland brethren, even scholastics, to commence the estab- 
lishment, m which case I will shut up the one that is now kept by some of 
my priests on the Bishop's piemises 

The Bishop then proceeds to offer the furniture of his little college 
and all its appurtenances, as also three hundred dollars towards defray- 
ing the travelling expenses from Maryland of the necessary professors. 3 
At about the same time that he wrote to Neale, Du Bourg entered into 
communication with Van Quickenborne, repeating his offer and engag- 
ing himself to close his own college m St Louis in case the Jesuits 
should open an institution of higher education m that city Again, in a 
letter written on January 7, 1824, to Father Dzierozynski, after tender- 
ing him felicitations on his appointment as superior of Maryland, he 
assures him of his desire to give the Jesuits a piece of property m St 
Louis with a view to their taking over the direction of the college 
"established in that city under my auspices." 4 

In a letter dated New Year's Day, 1824, in the very heart of the 
severe winter that followed his arrival at St. Ferdinand, Van Quicken- 
borne informed Dzierozynski of the Bishop's offer, adding his own 
view of the proposition Father Niel, rector of St. Louis College, was 
not able to support himself and his professors m the "Episcopal Col- 
lege," as it was sometimes called, and had placed the institution m the 
hands of a Protestant ( ? ) layman. There were only nine boarders in 
attendance and no more were to be looked for. The erection of a new 
house or college would cost much as labor in St Louis was dearer than 
m Maryland. "On the other hand," Van Quickenborne obseives, "the 
city is the principal one of the State and near other rising towns m 
Illinois. If our men were there, many day-scholars would attend school, 
of these, some would enter the Society, especially if, according to the 
Institute, we teach gratis" 5 In July, 1824, the Jesuit superior and 

3 Hughes, op ctt., Doc, 2 1026. Father Francis Neale was acting superior 
of the Maryland Jesuits for a brief period after the death of his brother, Father 
Charles Neale 

4 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, Florissant, January I, 1824 (B) Du 
Bourg ad Dzierozynski, New Orleans, January 7, 1824 (G) 

5 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, January I, 1824. (B). The principle of 
gratuitous instruction embodied in the Jesuit rule became impracticable in the 


his community had the pleasure of entertaining as a guest at St Ferdi- 
nand Father Charles Nermckx, to whom the Society of Jesus was 
greatly indebted for his generous recruiting efforts on its behalf. "We 
are sorry," wrote Van Quickenborne to Bishop Rosati, "that our vener- 
able guest cannot stay somewhat longer with us and entertain and edify 
us by his presence, which is so dear to us I have begged him to com- 
municate to you, Monseigneur, my ideas on the establishment of a 
college in St. Louis." 6 

Only a few weeks before Rosati had, in fact, warmly commended 
to the Jesuit General the two projects which Van Quickenborne sought 
to take in hand, the Indian school and the college in St Louis. Re- 
garding the latter he wrote 

It would, moreover, be necessary to establish a college of the Society m 
St Louis There is already property there to be used for this purpose, a 
considerable number of scholars and prospects of success The city of St 
Louis is already one of importance and becomes more so every day A 
respectable body of scholarly religious is absolutely necessary there to main- 
tain religion m good repute, to defend it against the attacks of heretics and to 
quicken the fervor of the Catholics A college at St. Louis could be of great 
help to the establishment at St Ferdinand for the Indian agents reside 
there, and there, also, are held the councils of deputies from the various 
Indian nations who come to treat with the Amencan Government To say 
all in a word, were I to have the good fortune to see a college of the 
Society established m that city, the interests of religion therein would be 
fully assured, so I believe. Bishop Du Bourg is of the same opinion and has 
charged me to appeal to your Very Reverend Paternity in all earnestness, 
and in his name also, to be so good as to interest yourself in this Mission and 
send it subjects To this end I renew my plea for an undertaking which will 
certainly not fail to make for the Greater Glory of God. In doing so I do 
nothing more than discharge the duty incumbent on me of procuring by all 
means m my power the welfare of the people committed to my care. Kmdly 
grant me the favor of a reply, which, I trust, will not be of a nature to 
disappoint my hopes. I think it unnecessary, in conclusion, to assure you that 
on my 4 part and that of Bishop Du Bourg, everything possible will be done 
to cooperate toward the success of the above-mentioned establishments, which 
I most earnestly desire to see brought about 7 

The "Episcopal College" of which Father Van Quickenborne speaks 
as being in a precarious condition in 1824 owed its origin to Bishop Du 
Bourg. The first year of the Bishop's residence in St. Louis, 1818, saw 

United States owing to the fact that the Society's colleges there established, being 
with one or other exception unendowed, are dependent on tuition-money for their 
support. See mfra, 5. 

6 Van Quickenborne a Rosati, Florissant, July 30, 1824. (C) 

7 Rosati a Fortis, June 22, 1824 (AA). In Italian 


the opening under his auspices of a Latin school for boys known as 
St. Louis Academy Classes were begun on November 16 of that year in 
a stone house of one story with a gallery which belonged to Madame 
Alvarez and stood at the northwest corner of Third and Market Streets. 
The management of the Academy was entrusted to Father Francis 
Nielj assisted by three other priests, all members of the diocesan clergy 
and attached to the cathedral of St Louis. The academy prospering 
was soon transformed into a college, for which a site was found in the 
cathedral block on the west side of Second Street between Market and 
Walnut. Here, on or immediately alongside the ground once occupied 
by the first church m St Louis, a two-story brick building adjoining 
the cathedral on the south was erected by Bishop Du Bourg and in this 
building in the fall of 1820 St Louis College held its first session. 
Though it stood high in public regard, the inability of the diocesan 
clergy conducting the college to find time amid their pressing minis- 
terial duties to give it due attention hampered its success With the 
end of the session 1826-1827 the institution closed its doors. Its register 
included names rich in historical associations of early St Louis and the 
pioneer West, among them those of Joseph Robidoux, Chauvette La- 
beaume, Marcellin St. Vram, Alexandre Bellesime, Charles Sangumet, 
Vital Beaugenou, Louis Pnmeau, Francis Bosseron, Philip Rocheblave, 
Toussamt Hunaut, Francis Cabanne and Auguste Delassus. 8 

8 W. H. W Fanning, "Historical Sketch of St Louis University" (St Louis 
University Bulletin, December, 1908), pp 6-12 Elihu H Shepard, professor of 
languages in St Louis College, 1823-1826, records some facts about the institution 
in his Autobiography (St Louis, 1869) As early as June 24, 1824, Bishop Du 
Bourg wrote concerning the western Jesuits to his brother at Bordeaux in France 
"They will take over the College of St Louis, this is the means to assure its sta- 
bility." Ann Prof, I 474 Du Bourg' s repeated requests in this connection to- 
gether with other circumstances, e g. the identity of name attaching to the two 
institutions, point to an organic continuity of descent from the old to the new 
St. Louis College, later St. Louis University. Cf St Louis University Bulletin, 
December, 1908. Numerous side-lights on the career of the old St. Louis College 
on Second Street are to be found m the correspondence of Father Edmund Saulnier, 
preserved in the archdiocesan archives of St Louis Cf. an article based on this 
correspondence, F. G. Holweck, "Vater Saulnier und seme Zeit," Pastoral Blatt 
(St. Louis), April, 1918. Saulnier was pastor of the St. Louis cathedral during the 
period 1825-1831 and virtual head of St Louis College from the departure from 
St. Louis of its first president, Father Francis Niel, March, 1825, to the close 
of the institution. He had been attached to the college as professor of French 
from December, 1819 In November, 1822, there were four priests on the staff, 
Fathers Niel, Michaud, Deys and Saulnier. But there were few students and great 
disorder prevailed, the lay professors being for the most part young and inex- 
perienced. In November, 1825, the college had so run down that Saulnier feared 
it would go under. A layman, Mr Brun (Le Brun), was the president and Elihu 
Shepard, a non-Catholic, was professor of languages, but the income of the 


The difficulties that beset St Louis College made Bishop Du Bourg 
all the more anxious to have the Jesuits enter the educational field. 
Reaching St. Michel, Cote d'Acadie, in November, 1825, on his way 
back to New Orleans from a visit to Natchitoches, he wrote to Van 
Quickenborne repeating his offer of two squares in St. Louis At St 

school fell short of their meagre salaries ($200 and $400) In January, 1826, 
Father Saulnier took over the direction of the school, though Brun apparently 
remained as nominal president Van Quickenborne wrote to Bishop Rosati January 
17, 1826 "Mr Saulnier is still weak and has fever from time to time He told 
me that while placing Mr Le Brun at the head of the College and paying a 
salary to him as also to [Rev ] Mr Odizzi [Audizio], he has retained a sort of 
general superintendence To Mr Le Brun and Mr De Thier [ ? ] is joined Mr 
Welsh, a worthy Irishman, who teaches English. There are students to keep the 
college going and I hope everything will proceed well " (C) At the end of May, 
1826, Father Leo De Neckere, later Bishop of New Orleans, was sent to St Louis 
by Bishop Rosati at Father Saulnier's earnest request to teach m the college and 
also preach English sermons in the cathedral De Neckere had to leave St Louig 
owing to ill-health a few months after his arrival Bishop Du Bourg, on his last 
visit to St Louis, May, 1826, was disappointed with the condition of the college, 
his own creation, and tried to have it closed "Lastly, I think I have obtained 
the suppression of this sorry school so ridiculously called a college The lay 
professors are all gladly quitting There is only Mr. Brun who seems to be still 
kept [here] by certain considerations, but he will see himself constrained by the 
responsibility to procure teachers and this amalgam, which is to the Church's 
discredit, will disappear [ms ? ] I don't think anybody in town will disapprove 
of this measure which is required as much by necessity as by the proprieties " 
Du Bourg a Rosati, May n, 1826 Kennck Seminary Archives. St Louis College, 
however, was somehow kept up, though in February, 1827, it had practically 
ceased to exist Only one professor, a Mr Servan, with some ten or twelve students 
m attendance, was left But Father Saulnier did not give up hope of seeing the 
college reopened If only Bishop Rosati were to send him Father Chiaveroti, with 
the latter's services, Servan's and his own, he could keep up the college without 
difficulty On July 23, 1827, he informed Bishop Rosati that the Jesuits were 
willing to reopen the college on Second Street, probably an unfounded report, as 
Father Van Quickenborne was already considering the Connor property at Wash- 
ington Avenue and Ninth Street as the site of his future college As late as June, 
1828, Saulnier was still hoping to be able to reopen St. Louis College with him- 
self, Servan and the cathedral clergy in charge The session 1826-1827 would 
seem to have been the final one in the history of the institution. In September, 
1828, Father Van Quickenborne reported to his superior in Maryland that St Louis 
did not have a single Catholic school By that time some of the former students 
of St. Louis College had registered at Florissant, where the Jesuits held classes 
for them pending the erection of the new college building on Washington Avenue 
In 1832 Bishop Rosati converted the old college building on Second Street into 
a church (St. Mary's Chapel) for the Catholic Negroes of St. Louis On May 6 
of that year the chapel was blessed by Father Verhaegen. Later, m 1834, Father 
Anton Lutz began to hold services in it for the German Catholics of the city. 
Bishop DuBourg's college building thus ended its career by serving as the first 
house of worship for the Catholic Negroes and later for the German Catholics of 
St. Louis. SLCHR, 4. 6. 


Michel he learned that Rosati, his Auxiliary, was ten leagues below, at 
St. Jean Baptiste, waiting for an up-river steamer He hastened there- 
upon to meet Rosati to confer with him on the ordination of the Jesuit 
scholastics and the projected college in St Louis, and sent through him 
from St Jean Baptiste a second letter to Van Quickenborne, dated two 
days later than the one written from St. Michel 

If Mr De Theux has arrived, I ask you to accompany your scholastics 
so that you may confer in person with Msgr , to whom I have communicated 
several matters of intimate concern to yourself 

First m importance among these matters is your establishment of St. 
Louis To forward it and give it all desirable stability and independence, I 
offer you two fine squares in Connor's addition to the city on the same 
conditions on which they were given to me, to wit, that a college should be 
built upon one of them (it does not matter which) and that it should be in 
operation withm seven years of the date of the bond of conveyance, which 
was made over to me in the year 1819 or 1820, I do not remember which, 
but as the bond is on record m St Louis, you can easily venfy its date On 
the less favorable supposition, there still remains sufficient time to put up a 
small house, either of log or frame, for as the dimensions and material of 
the building were not specified in the bond, any kind of structure suited to 
receive some thirty day-scholars or even fewer will meet the requirements 
I foresee two difficulties in the way of your acceptance, ist the expenses 
and 2nd your rules As to the first, I am persuaded that you will receive 
aid from the inhabitants, if you make the rounds of the city for such purpose 
I will myself contribute one hundred dollars. As to the rules of your Society 
or the difficulty of your taking in charge the direction of the school, there is 
nothing to prevent you, while these hindrances last, from putting the school 
m the hands of some master, to whom you can lease it or even lend it gratis 
I regard this property as too precious a thing, m view of the future interests 
of religion and of your Society, not to urge you to make every effort to 
assure yourself of its possession, moreover, as the time is approaching after 
which regrets will be useless, I am persuaded that you can go far in this 
matter on your own responsibility, with the understanding that, m view of 
the urgency of the case, you cannot fail to obtain subsequently the approval 
of your superior 9 

9 "I forgot in my last, my Reverend and very dear Father to speak to you of 
two very fine squat es which I hold m St Louis under condition that within a 
year or two from now (the period can be ascertained) there shall be a college 
on one of the two, that is to say, a school erected and in full operation . 
For the rest, it would appear to me to be very important to your Society to secure 
possession of this property, which may one day enable you to establish yourselves 
m St Louis on a very independent footing Mr Saulnier will be able to show it 
to you " Du Bourg a Van Quickenborne, St. Michel, Cote d'Acadie, November 7, 
1825. (A) Du Bourg a Van Quickenborne, St. Jean Baptiste, La, November 9, 
1825 (A). 


Van Quickenborne's reply to the foregoing communication from 
Du Bourg is dated some weeks later 

As to the establishment of a college m St. Louis, I wrote about the 
matter to Father General more than eighteen months ago He gave me 
permission to buy out of my own patrimony one thousand arpents of land 
for the support of Ours who shall be sent there. I shall receive for myself 
very little or perhaps nothing at all from this patrimony You did well to 
write about the offer to the Father Superior of Georgetown You must let 
him decide on it as also on the parish you have offered me It will require 
a miracle to give us a college at St Louis, such as our institute demands, 
namely, one which is free for day-pupils and which for that reason must 
have an adequate revenue Still I dare to hope it of the divine goodness 10 


The two squares which Bishop Du Bourg offered to Father Van 
Quickenborne were a gift to him from Jeremiah Connor, a native of 
Ireland, who came to St. Louis in 1805 from Georgetown in the Dis- 
trict of Columbia, where he had engaged m the business of auctioneer 
He followed the same business in St. Louis where he quickly came into 
prominence, being appointed by Governor Wilkinson sheriff of the vil- 
lage within a year after his arrival He has been described as a man 
of retiring and even eccentric habits, never marrying and living alone 
m the rear of his place of business on Second Street He was one of the 
witnesses to the last will and testament drawn up by Menwether Lewis, 
of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, on the eve of the latter's departure 
from St. Louis shortly before his tragic death. The Erin Benevolent 
Society, of which he became president, was organized at his house in 
1818, while he was also the founder with John Mullanphy and others 
of the Irish Immigrant and Corresponding Society. He died September 
23, 1823, aged about fifty, and his estate, coming under the sheriffs 
hammer, soon passed into various hands. 11 

No other citizen after John Mullanphy was more actively interested 
in the promotion of Catholic interests in early St. Louis than Jeremiah 
Connor. He contributed a thousand dollars towards repairing the old 
cathedral presbytery and putting it m readiness for the arrival of 
Bishop Du Bourg m i8i8. 12 Moreover, his name appears on a document 

10 Van Quickenborne a Du Bourg. Ann Prof. (1827) By "patrimony" Van 
Quickenborne understood certain family property in Belgium to which he had 
fallen heir 

11 Billon, Annals of St Louis m its Territorial Days, pp. 67, 194, 379 "An 
intelligent, liberal gentleman," is Billon's estimate of Connor 

12 Memorial Sketch of Bishop William Louis Du Bourg and What his Coming 
Meant to St. Louis St Louis, January, 1918 Of the $4,271 75 collected m 1818 


signed by about one hundred and twenty of the French residents of St. 
Louis, with Auguste Chouteau at their head, which guaranteed Bishop 
Du Bourg the use, free from all molestation, of the cathedral presbytery 
yard as a building site for St. Louis Academy. 13 But Jeremiah Connor 
was not content with this evidence of collective goodwill on the part 
of the Catholics of St Louis towards the educational venture of their 
chief pastor. He resolved to do something personally for the cause of 
Christian education Accordingly, on March 8, 1820, he signed an 
instrument binding himself, his heirs and assigns, to convey to the Rt. 
Rev. Louis William Du Bourg m fee simple "two squares in Connor's 
addition to St. Louis, the one bounded south by an eighty foot street, 
west by a sixty foot street, north by the land of William Christy, east 
by a sixty foot street, which separates the same from the half-square 
I sold this day to said L. William Du Bourg the other lying south 
of the former, from which it is separated by said eighty-foot street, 
bounded as ditto east and west, and on the south by the St. Charles 
road, each of said squares containing two hundred and seventy feet 
counting from east to west, by one hundred and fifty from north to 
south, be the same more or less. The condition of the above obligation 
is that a college shall be built and used as such within seven years of 
this day on either of said squares, the deed, however, to be executed 
as soon as possible." 14 

for Bishop Du Bourg's brick cathedral, $1,172 was collected by Jeremiah Connor, 
the rest by Thomas McGuire St Louis Pastoral Blatt^ January, 1918 

13 Billon, of. crt , p 422 

14 The history of Connor's addition to St. Louis belongs to the romance of real 
estate development m that city. Before the date of the Louisiana Purchase and 
for some time after, the western boundary of the village ran along the line of 
the present Fourth Street, turning m towards the river at about Convent Street 
on the south and Morgan Street on the north Fourth Street was not yet laid out 
and within the village there were three principal streets, all running north and 
south, Main Street or Rue- Royale (also Rue Prmctfale) , Second Street or Rue de 
PEghse and Third Street or Rue des Granges To the northwest of the village, 
which was encircled by pickets guarded at intervals by stone forts or bastions, were 
the Common Fields, while to the southwest were the Commons, two customary 
adjuncts of the Creole settlements of upper Louisiana The Common Fields were 
divided off into oblong strips, forty arpents long and one arpent wide, which were 
assigned to the townsfolk m numbers proportionate to their ability to cultivate them 

On August 12, 1766, only two years after the founding of St Louis, the 
Spanish government granted to Julien Le Roy, one of Liguest-Laclede's associates, 
a forty-arpent strip in the Common Fields, lying between similar parallel strips, the 
one to the north being held by Joseph Tayon and the one to the south by Frangois 
Bissonet Le Roy soon lost his strip, which was again merged into the Common 
Fields, May 23, 1772, a fresh grant of it was made by the Spanish government, 
this time m favor of Gabriel Dodier, also one of Laclede's companions Twenty-one 
years later, July 14, 1793, Dodier conveyed the strip for a consideration of eighty 


Early in May, 1826, Bishop Du Bourg visited St. Louis on his way 
to Europe, whither he was believed to be called by important business 

dollars to Esther, a mulatto -woman, \\ho had been manumitted that same jear 
by her owner, Jacques Glamorgan The deed of conveyance described the property 
as being "one arpent m front by forty in depth, situated in the rear of the town 
on the adjoining prairie, bounded on the east by the fence set there to protect 
the wheat fields from the live-stock, on the west by his Majesty's domain, on the 
north by land hitherto and also now m the possession of Sr Tayon, pere, on the 
south by the King's highway (Rue Royale), which leads to the villages of St 
Charles and St Ferdinand " (Dodier's deed of conveyance of July 14, 1793, is in 
French Cf St Louis Republic^ April 23, 1911, p 10) Within a year after 
acquiring the arpent, Esther, the mulatto woman, transferred it September 2, I794> 
to her quondam master, Jacques Glamorgan The latter held it until July 8, 1808, 
when, to meet a judgment, it was put up and bold at public auction by Jeremiah 
Connor, sheriff of St Louis The purchaser was Alexander McNair, subsequently 
the first governor of Missouri McNair held the property a little over a month, 
conveying it on August 13 of the same year, for some unknown consideration, to 
Jeremiah Connor himself 

Meanwhile Esther had been advised that her transfer of the arpent to Glamor- 
gan m 1794 was null and void On the ground, therefore, that she was still legal 
owner of the property, she made over her rights and title to the same to Wilham 
C Carr, June 15, 1809 Finally, April 28, 1812, Carr sold the property for six 
hundred dollars to Jeremiah Connor, who thus stood possessed of the forty-arpent 
strip by a double title derived from Esther through Glamorgan and from 
Esther through Carr (Abstract of title of College Lot m St. Louis University 
Archives ) Though Dodier's deed to Esther describes the tract as having a frontage 
of only a single arpent, it actually measured three hundred and eighty feet from 
north to south, which would give it a frontage, according to United States govern- 
ment surveys of the period, of about two arpents, taking the latter unit as a linear 
measurement equivalent to one hundred and ninety-two and a half English feet 
The arpent of Esther's deed was accordingly a double arpent of three hundred 
and eighty feet, and hence Connor's property was usually described as made up 
of two forty-arpent strips or lots Beginning at Third Street it ran west to about 
the line of Jefferson Avenue, a distance of nearly a mile and a half, between the 
property of Maj William Christy on the north and that of Judge J B. C. Lucas 
on the south. Sometime before 1820 these enterprising citizens laid out their 
suburban tracts into so-called additions to St. Louis and Connor did the same with 
his forty-arpent strip Through the center of the property he laid out a street, 
eighty feet wide, which he relinquished to the public without consideration, thus 
leaving to himself only one hundred and fifty feet on either side The eighty-foot 
street, named Washington Avenue as early as 1821, was destined to become the 
most important business thoroughfare of St. Louis The name of Jeremiah Connor, 
its donor, should be assured a place of distinction in. the annals of the city. 
(Billon, Annals of St Louts m its Territorial Days, p. 195). 

In Connor's bond of conveyance to Bishop Du Bourg, March 8, 1820, of two 
squares lying north and south of Washington Avenue between Ninth and Tenth 
Streets he intimates his intention to procure for the Bishop from William Christy 
a deed in fee simple to fractional pieces m Maj. Christy's addition so as to com- 
plete two whole squares on the north side of Washington Avenue Accordingly, on 
June 2, 1820, Christy conveyed to Bishop Du Bourg for seven hundred dollars 


affairs connected with his diocese. As a matter of fact, he was going 
abroad for the purpose of laying his resignation before the Holy See 
He imparted, however, to no one, not even to Bishop Rosati, his inten- 
tion of resigning his episcopal charge in America, deeming it no doubt 
more prudent m the unsettled state of the diocese to observe absolute 
secrecy regarding the step he was about to take. In a letter addressed 
to the Ami de la Religion of Pans shortly after his arrival in France, 
after declaring that his resignation was not due to reasons of health, he 

The motives, then, of my resignation are of a higher order, and they 
were presented to the Holy See, to which they appeared so just that his 
Holiness the Pope did not hesitate a moment, when they were submitted to 
him, to dissolve the sacred ties that bound me to that important but laborious 
mission But m ceasing to be the head of it, I have not ceased to feel the 
most tender solicitude for it What do I say ? It is that solicitude which 
forced me to leave it, inasmuch that on the one hand it was evident my 
presence there would be more prejudicial than useful, and, on the other 
hand, I did flatter myself to be able from Europe to render that mission 
more important services 15 

a tract seventy-five by two hundred and seventy feet, being the part of the square 
between Ninth and Tenth Streets bounded by Connor's line and Green Street 
Moreover, on November 15, 1822, Christy also conveyed to the Bishop, for eight 
hundred dollars, a tract seventy-five by two hundred and seventy feet, being the 
part of the square between Tenth and Eleventh Streets limited by Connor's line 
and Green Street Again, on September 5, 1820, Jeremiah Connor sold to the 
Bishop for a thousand dollars the western half of the square between Eighth and 
Ninth Streets on the north side of Washington Avenue Finally, on October 15, 
1821, Connor transferred to the Bishop for two thousand dollars, 1st the whole 
square in his addition between Tenth and Eleventh Streets (with the privilege of 
Tenth Street) and between Washington Avenue and Christy's (Connor's ? ) line 
and 2nd the eastern half of the square between Eighth and Ninth Streets, north 
of Washington Avenue. Bishop Du Bourg, as a result of these purchases, now held 
the two squares on Washington Avenue between Eighth and Ninth Streets and 
between Tenth and Eleventh Streets limited by Christy's line (Green Street), 
besides holding for educational purposes Connor's original donation of two squares 
lying respectively north and south of Washington Avenue between Ninth and 
Tenth Streets 

15 Clarke, Lives of the Deceased Bishop of the Catholic Church in the United 
States, i 235 CHR, 3 173 "The public prints are filled with news of Bishop 
Du Bourg's resignation from his bishopric and of the acceptance of the resignation 
I am the more astonished at the news, as everything which Msgr said to me 
before his departure and everything he wrote to me since has led me to believe 
that he would return" Rosati a David, October 29, 1826 Letter-book of Bishop 
Rosati, II. (C). "You know how the Right Rev. L. Du Bourg has left us He 
deserved, no doubt, some peace and rest m his old age and his new flock of Mon- 
tauban will appreciate his merit more than the one he has left " Rosati to Bishop 
Edward Fenwick, December 5, 1826 Idem. (C) 


During the few days that Bishop Du Bourg remained in St. Louis 
he endeavored to dispatch some business matters of importance, among 
them the tangled question of the college property Unable for lack of 
time to visit Florissant, he wrote twice from the city to Father Van 
Quickenborne, reporting to him the results of a conference he had with 
Luke E. Lawless, a distinguished member of the St. Louis bar. 16 
The Bishop on reaching St. Louis was surprised to find that one of the 
two Connor squares donated for college purposes in 1820 had been sold 
to meet a judgment against the property and that possession of the other 
was now in jeopardy. Taking counsel with Lawless he was advised 
to have the remaining square, which lay on the north side of Washing- 
ton Avenue, between Ninth and Tenth Streets, and had come to be 
known as the College Lot, sold by order of the court and with this end 
in view Lawless obtained a judgment of a hundred dollars against the 
Connor estate. Van Quickenborne was thereupon to buy the property 
in his own name m the expectation that no one would outbid him, as 
the danger of becoming involved in a lawsuit would, so it was pre- 
sumed, preclude interference from other parties. 17 

Du Bourg left St Louis for Louisville on the steamer Ocecm Wave, 
May 10, 1826 The day of his departure he penned a brief note to Van 
Quickenborne at Florissant. "Just one word of remembrance, my dear 
Father. Msgr. Rosati will tell you the rest. You will see how much I 
am taken up with your affairs. I wish you to acquiesce in everything he 
may ask of you on behalf of St Louis and religion Circumstances de- 
mand that you make some sacrifice I will on my part do all I possibly 
can for you " Again, writing from Louisville, May 15, 1826, to Father 
Saulmer in St. Louis, the Bishop adds in a postscript- "Tell Father Van 
Quickenborne to write me often and in detail, if he wishes me to work 
effectively for him m Europe." 18 From Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and 

16 The Hon Luke E Lawless, Judge of the Circuit Court, was a native of 
Ireland, having come to the United States after the Irish rebellion of 1798 in 
which he was implicated He was Thomas Benton's second in the duel in which 
Benton killed Charles Lucas, son of Judge J B C Lucas References to Lawless's 
career in St. Louis are in John F Darby's Personal Recollections^ St Louis, 1880 
"Ne manquez pas de voir de temps en temps le Col Lawless C'est un homme a 
menager et dont vous fenez aisement un ami utile a votre estabhssement et a 
celui de nos Dames Lui et sa femme et la mere de celle-ci m'ont temoigne le 
plus grand desir d'aller visiter ces deux maisons Faites leur tout voir Le Col peut 
vous servir a Washington et en beaucoup d'autres occasions." Du Bourg a Van 
Quickenborne, May 10, 1826 (A). 

17 O'Connor's bond of conveyance of 1820 was not put on record until July 22, 
1824. This delay of four years, during which Connor died, may have caused the 
loss of the forfeited square 

18 Du Bourg a Van Quickenborne, St Louis, May 10, 1826, Du Bourg a 
Saulmer, May 15, 1826 (A). "The Jesuit Fathers are delighted over my trip 


finally from Havre at the end of his transatlantic voyage, he dispatched 
letters to the Maryland superior, Father Dzierozynski He wrote from 

The important interests of my diocese call me to Rome Among them is 
your dear Society I hope to make a number of arrangements with a view 
to extend its means of usefulness It would give me great pleasure to be 
made the bearer of a letter from you to your Rev Fr General Finding 
myself unable to solicit it in person, I ask you to address it to me at Bordeaux 
I come from St. Louis and Florissant Your Fathers and Brothers there 
have quite surpassed all my expectations There is nothing I am not ready 
to do to second the zeal and devotion of such cooperators I hope that God 
will bless my efforts. Pray that He may do so 19 

The plan proposed by Col. Lawless for saving the College Lot does 
not appear to have succeeded if indeed it was ever tried "Tell him 
[Van Quickenborne]," Bishop Du Bourg had advised Father Saulmer 
from Louisville five days after his departure from St. Louis, "to see Col 
Lawless so as to press the sale of the property called College Lot I 
have written to him. If he does not see the matter clearly, the Colonel 
will explain it to him." 20 

Within a year after the Bishop's withdrawal from his diocese, Jere- 
miah Connor's entire estate came under the sheriff's hammer, March 21, 
1827. Robert Simpson, sheriff of St. Louis, announced his intention 
to sell the property of Jeremiah Connor, deceased, viz. "a tract of two 
arpents from eastwardly 40 feet, bounded south by the St. Charles 
road, west by land of John O'Fallon, north by William Christy and 
east by Third street, to be sold for cash on Thursday, I2th of April 
between the hours of nine and five to satisfy etc." The purchaser was 
to be Col. John O'Fallon, who by sheriff's deed dated April 16, 1827, 
acquired possession of the Connor estate On April 28 of the same year, 
O'Fallon, now owner of the College Lot, sold it for two hundred and 
ten dollars to Jesse G. Lindell. 21 As a consequence, this property, Jere- 

to Europe They augur on the head of it good things for the future of the diocese 
and their Society The step being thus approved by all whom I had a duty to 
consult, I am leaving with confidence" Du Bourg a Rosati, May n, 1826 
Souvay Coll., Kenrick Seminary Archives 

19 Du Bourg a Dzierozynski, Cincinnati, May 18, 1826, Pittsburgh, May 24, 
1826; Havre, July 2, 1826 (B). With his Havre letter Du Bourg sent a letter 
which Van Quickenborne had entrusted to him for Dzierozynski and which, "m 
jest^nat^one rttnens*' he forgot to post from Wheeling or Pittsburgh. 

20 Du Bourg a Saulmer, Louisville, May 15, 1826 (A). 

21 Abstract of title of College Lot (D). On May 8, 1849, Col John O'Fallon 
gave a quit-claim deed to St. Louis University for any interest he might have 
had in the University property on Washington Avenue The Colonel's one-time 
ownership of the College Lot together with the fact of a quit-claim having been 


miah Connor's gift to Catholic education in St. Louis, seemed to have 
been diverted forever from its intended use "I regret exceedingly the 
College Lot," wrote Du Bourg from his episcopal see of Montauban in 
France to Van Quickenborne in Florissant, "not for its own sake 
but because of the importance I attach to your having an establishment 
in St. Louis. Try by all means to secure a site as central and as spacious 
as possible." 22 

Scarcely a year had passed since Jeremiah Connor's estate had been 
disposed of at public auction, when Father Van Quickenborne, by an 
exchange sale with Jesse Lindell, owner of the College Lot, was at 
length enabled to recover that property and reserve it for its original 
use. The lot had a frontage of two hundred and seventy feet on Wash- 
ington Avenue, running from Ninth to the east line of Tenth Street 
As attorney for Bishop Du Bourg, Van Quickenborne now conveyed 
to Lmdell in exchange for the lot the same number of feet on Wash- 
ington Avenue, but in two sections, one section being the unsold portion 
of the Bishop's square between Eighth and Ninth Streets, and another 
section of equal size being the portion (limited by Eleventh Street) of 
the Bishop's square between Tenth and Eleventh Streets. 23 

To Dzierozynski in Maryland Van Quickenborne now reported with 
something of elation this final adjustment of the question of the College 
Lot, quickly dropping from Latin, in which he begins his letter, into 
English. "In Sti Ludowci, [sic] obtinw College Lot [I got the College 
Lot m St. Louis] The agreement is written and signed by both parties, 
Mr. Lindell and myself. The title will be delivered next week and 
then I, as agent of Bishop Du Bourg, and conformably to his private 

delivered by him in connection with it probably gave rise to the erroneous state- 
ment to be met with in some accounts (e g Conard, Cyclofefaa of the City of 
St. Louis, art. "John O'Fallon") that he and not Jeremiah Connor was the donor 
of the College Lot 

22 Du Bourg a Van Quickenborne, Montauban, January 26, 1828 (A). 

23 Abstract of title of College Lot. (D). The deed of transfer of the College 
Lot from Lmdell to Van Quickenborne is dated August 29, 1828. "Our house 
is very well built and they say it is one of the most imposing edifices in St Louis. 
For its foundation your lordship gave me all the land belonging to you in Connor's 
addition to St Louis." Van Quickenborne a Du Bourg, November 20, 1829 Ann. 
Prop., l83l>p 590 "To arrange the matter for the lots for a college in St Louis 
the Bishop Du Bourg gave me a power of attorney for all his estate, which consists 
only of two lots more all the rest I may, with his given permission, make over 
to Rev. Father De Theux R F. De Theux thought I could not refuse the power 
of attorney One of these two college lots belongs now to us absolutely without 
any obligation except that of gratitude to the donor (Bp D B ) The title is 
one of the surest that can be. It contains 250 ft. by nearly 300 To secure it to 
us the Bishop has sacrificed when here $550." Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, 
Florissant, August 10, 1826. (B). 


directions will make the deed to your Reverence I pay nothing but 
give the same quantity of land to Mr. Lindell and that quantity I take 
from lots belonging to Bishop Du Bourg, but placed at my disposal. 
Your Reverence will find a sketch on the back of a piece of paper. 
When I was at the Barrens two years ago. Bishop Rosati told me that 
in case he should be titular bishop of St Louis, he would be glad that 
we should have on that College Lot, a college with a parochial church 
When he was here, he adhered to the same resolution. I wish from my 
heart we had it and you have only to say, have it." 24 


The beginnings of St. Louis University as a Jesuit institution may 
be dated from the period at which white students were first received 
into the seminary at Florissant. As early as the second half of 1825, 
Father Van Quickenborne had four white boys in residence there, two 
of the number receiving board and lodging free in consideration of 
domestic services rendered to the house and two paying each fifty dollars 
a year. 25 The two boys for whom payment was being made were Hubert 
and Charles Tayon of St. Charles, Mo., admitted at Florissant Novem- 
ber 6, i825. 26 It seems to have been the superior's purpose in the be- 
ginning to receive only such youths as gave promise of a religious 
vocation, for thus in his sanguine way did he hope to solve the vexed 
problem of recruiting the novitiate. 27 Father De Theux, shortly after 
his arnval at Florissant, in October, 1825, gave it as his opinion that no 
more white pupils ought to be received, and indeed, with an Indian 
school on their hands, theological studies to get up and the painfully 
cramped accommodations of the log buildings to hamper them, the 
young men of the Jesuit community were scarcely in a position to give 
anything like frequent or systematic instruction to the handful of white 
boys that registered After the Tayons came Pierre Bellau, admitted 
August 27, 1826. No more white students seem to have registered until 
June 12, 1828, when Charles Pierre Chouteau, a grandson of Pierre 
Chouteau, Senior, was admitted to the school. Five additional students 
registered m the course of the same year, Francis Cabanne (July 10), 
Edward Paul (July 22), Julius Cabanne (August 7), Du Thil Ca- 
banne (August 12), Thomas Forsyth (August 16), Francis Bosseron 
(September 3), and John Shannon (October 16) On January 7, 1829, 
Bryan Mullanphy, a future mayor of St. Louis and founder of the 

24 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, February 12, 1828 (B) Van Quicken- 
borne's certificate of power of attorney for Bishop Du Bourg is dated May 5, 1826 

25 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, December 19, 1825 (B). 

26 Van Quickenborne account book (A) . 

27 Infra, Chap XI, I 


Mullanphy Emigrant Fund, was enrolled, followed m the course of the 
same year by Paul Etienne Fremont De Bouffay, Alexander La Force, 
Charles Capdeville, Edward Chouteau, Julius Clark (son of General 
William Clark), and Howard Christy. The last name was enrolled 
July 25. The charge for board and tuition was twenty-five dollars a 
quarter, raised in the course of 1829 to thirty-five dollars. It was there- 
fore only during the session 1828-1829 that what could properly be 
called a school for white boys was conducted at Florissant; and the 
school was, it is plain, nothing more than a make-shift or accommodation 
pending the opening of a Jesuit college in St. Louis* 28 

From the first moment that the project of a college at St Louis 
was taken up Van Quickenborne was at pains to secure for it the explicit 
approval of his superiors. As early as January 6, 1824, he informed 
Father Fortis, the General, of Bishop Du Bourg's insistent desire that 
the Jesuits open a school m the Missouri metropolis, for which the 
prelate was ready to provide a site besides pledging a personal sub- 
scription of a hundred dollars, A few weeks later Father Dzieroxynski 
was also reporting Du Bourg's wishes to the Father General, at the same 
time petitioning that Van Quickenborne be allowed to purchase a thou- 
sand acres of land for the support of the future college. But in Decem- 
ber, 1827, the Maryland superior advised the General that the idea of 
a college in St. Louis was altogether premature. Van Quickenborne 
was without money to purchase "even the first stone," Dzierozynski 
wrote, as he was also without the men to staff the college and there- 
fore had been instructed to make no further move before obtaining 
the approbation of the Father General. The preceding February Van 
Quickenborne had written to Father Fortis: "I should like to be able 
to make preparations to open a college [in St. Louis] in which we 
should teach gratuitously, and to make announcement to our friends 
to this effect." No response to this petition was to come from Rome 29 

At length, to an inquiry made by Van Quickenborne to the Mary- 
land superior m 1828 as to whether he might seriously set to work 
preparing for the new college, the latter replied that the tertianship, in 
which all the Jesuit priests at Florissant were then engaged, was to 
be brought to an end on July 31, 1828, and that Van Quickenborne 

28 Van Quickenborne account book (A) Charles P Chouteau m his testimony 
m the suit "The City of St Louis vs. The St Louis University" (October, 1881) 
over the attempted opening of Tenth Street through the University property 
claimed to be the first student registered at Florissant (1828). The claim was open 
to dispute as the Tayons and Pierre Bellau had preceded him, the former by 
almost three years However, these three were admitted before the opening of the 
school proper m 1828 

29 Van Quickenborne ad Fortis, January 6, 1824, February 6, 1827, Dziero- 
zynski ad Fortis, February 6, 1824, December 15 ( ? ), 1827. (AX). 


might assign the priests in view of the coming scholastic year whatever 
duties he saw fit. This answer was interpreted by Van Quickenborne 
and all his advisers but one as a virtual authorization to begin at St. 
Louis if funds for the purpose were available. Announcement was 
accordingly made to the public that the work would be promptly taken 
in hand To a subsequent request made to Father Dzierozynski that he 
declare his mind more explicitly, the latter replied that he had not 
indeed granted permission "in clear terms" to begin at St Louis, but 
neither had he restricted the Missouri superior from so doing if the 
necessary means were within reach "For Very Reverend Father Gen- 
eral had previously given you permission to acquire land for a college 
in St. Louis. If, therefore, you have the means at hand, you may make 
the necessary arrangements, not on my authority but on that of Father 
General." As late as December, 1828, Van Quickenborne was still peti- 
tioning the General to put the formal seal of his approval on the new 
St. Louis College "After we began, Reverend Father Superior injected 
some sort of doubt though he ordered us to go ahead. . . . We thought 
that the Superior was thus giving permission to begin at St. Louis and 
that he did so under instructions from Very Reverend Father General. 
... In fine, we thought ourselves acting clearly according to obedience 
throughout the whole affair." It is likely that Van Quickenborne's final 
petition never came into the hands of Father Fortis, for the latter died 
January 27, 1829 But his successor, Father Roothaan, gave the approval 
so long and anxiously solicited. He wrote to Van Quickenborne Novem- 
ber 21, 1829 "I approve of the incipient college in St. Louis . . . but 
beware of taking more in your hands than you can well attend to " 
As to the superior in Maryland, there could be no doubt of his sincere 
sympathy with the venture. Already in November, 1828, he had noted 
in a communication to Father Fortis that the college was in process 
of erection, adding that the "eight Jesuit priests in Missouri were doing 
the work of double their number and that God was extending to them 
His singular protection." 30 

A statement in detail of the circumstances under which Van Quicken- 
borne was led to commit himself by public announcement to the project 
of a college in St. Louis is contained in a letter written in English which 
he addressed September I, 1828, to Father Dzierozynski. 

I. Several years ago I stated to your Reverence as also to our Rev. 
Father General the reasons why we should have a college in St Louis 
Father General approved of them by allowing me to buy 1000 acres for the 
future support of Ours m St. Louis. 

30 Dzierozynski ad Van Quickenborne, August 27, 1828, Van Quickenborne ad 
Fortis, December 3, 1828, Dzierozynski ad Fortis, November 28, 1828. (AA). 


2 Your Reverence when here [1827] was willing to receive the deeds 
of the lots left by the Bishop for a college Of course you were willing to 
assume the obligation of opening a college when convenient. 

3 Some months after your Reverence leaving here, all the consultors 
thought it advisable to secure a college in St Louis and were of opinion that 
except that were done soon, we would be kept out of it forever They deemed 
an establishment there almost of absolute necessity, because when a religious 
body has m a country the worst and most difficult posts, the poorest and 
least populated places, its members are apt to become discouraged, disgusted. 
No candidates almost will offer for such places and almost none of talents 
Hence, the members of the body would seek for changes and the body 
deprived of the possibility of propagating itself, yea of maintaining itself At 
that time I wrote to your Reverence about it Your Reverence answered 
"For the present finish the third year of probation. We shall return to your 
inquiry later " 

4 Many complaints were made to me by the inhabitants of St Louis 
about not having a single Catholic school and many solicitations I received 
to open a school with promise of a liberal support. These complaints and 
solicitations were also made to the Bishop this summer whilst he was in St 
Louis. He saw a numerous and promising youth abandoned to Protestant 
masters, several of whom made their pupils learn by heart the Protestant 
catechism The Bishop answered that he would endeavor to open a school 
and with that view sent a Rev. Mr. Dusaussois, but still his Lordship told 
me that he would stick to his word given to me about the college and 
church. 31 He wanted our resolution which I could not give Again, all the 
consultors, I may say, urged the matter with me, I wrote to your Reverence 
stating how it was now the time to say yes or no, stating how it could be 
done, what persons could be employed, that provided we made known to the 
public our determination to open a college, we would raise a subscription and 
have the building completed this winter to begin at the end of our 3rd year, 
observing at the same time that the plan required that some of Ours should 
go occasionally to St. Louis. 

5 Your Reverence in answer to this letter says' "In nomine Domini 
finish the third probation on the feast of St. Ignatius. Let your Reverence 
make out the appointments for Florissant for the corning year, only let me 
know to what office and where each one is assigned." At the first reading 
of this answer, I had no doubt in my mind but your Reverence wanted me 
to begin at St. Louis for what other reason, finish the third year before 
its time ? I had proposed the disposition of offices and persons to your Rever- 
ence; for what purpose leave it to me but to signify that your Reverence 
approved it, by saying quid offid et ubl } indicating several places Your Rever- 
ence sees us eager and in good earnest asking permission to begin at St. Louis 
and grants power to place in any office and where I shall think proper; how 

81 Father Dusaussoy was first stationed at the St Louis cathedral in August, 
1828. He left St. Louis die following year for France. 


could St Louis be excluded, since particular mention was made of it m our 
demand? and could your Reverence think that we should not begin, if your 
Re\erence left it to us to place where we should think proper? If St. Louis 
is to be excluded, this should have been explicitly mentioned When I wrote 
to your Reverence last, I had doubts for this only reason, that I should not 
assume any power unless it were evidently given me But the Consultors 
answer that nothing more explicit could be said and that if a Superior could 
not proceed upon such answers, there could be no longer any safe transmis- 
sion of business by letteis Only Fr De Theux had some doubts . . 32 

Your Reverence sees that we must now go on. I have a beautiful square 
270 ft by 215 [225] ft belonging to me of which I shall send the deed to 
your Reverence The Bishop must and does approve it, I have no doubt but 
a fine church will be built also for us in process of time Mr Saulmer, 
Dusaussois, Loisel, priests at St Louis, also approve it The people demand it 
and are willing to subscribe for the building They highly cry for a church 
where sermons m English are preached The Fiench want the present church 
for themselves 33 The Bishop is willing, i e has given me his word that not 
only is he pleased that we should have a church but also a parochial school 
for the Americans The Bishop has waited now for two years If we do not 
do it, the people will expect it from him and he should and would do it St 
Louis (that is, an establishment there) is necessary for our Indian mission 
I There we can easily and with all possible advantage see and treat with 
the chiefs of every nation. 2 There we can easily know every event of 
importance concerning affairs connected with the Indian mission. 3 There 
reside the Superintendent of Indian Affairs and all the agents and traders 
whose good will we must cultivate. 4, There we must transact most all our 
affairs to begin, continue and support our establishment in the Indian coun- 
try. 5 By opening a free school we oblige those very men whose assistance 
m the Indian country we want and gam a good share of popularity 6 St 
Louis' fate is decided as to its becoming a large and very important city m 
the West. From this place we may 4 expect a succession, as the classical educa- 
tion of a child will not be expensive to the parent and as there are many 
families truly pious who would be glad to see their children embracing a 
religious life. 7 The choice of a proper place for our establishment is of the 
highest impoitance About St. Louis being the proper place there can be no 
doubt, and the time of making the choice is now and precisely and only now. 

As to the means of supporting Ours, let me, Rev Superior, bring to 
your recollection the poor state in which we came out Great improvements 
we are making on our farm m conformity with (not further than) your 
Reverence's instructions and when they will be finished, I will give an 
accurate account of them. We have a fine new church in St. Charles, a fine 

82 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, September I, 1828. (B) 
33 Father Edward Saulmer, rector of the St Louis cathedral, 1825-1831. 
Father Regis Loisel, an assistant at the cathedral, was the first native St Louisan 
raised to the priesthood. As to efforts made by the English-speaking Catholics of 
St. Louis to nave some English preaching at the cathedral, cf Holweck, "The 
Language Question at the Old St Louis Cathedral," SLCHR, 2 4-17. 


house, the whole worth $10,000 and with no debts Ours in St Louis will 
be supported in the following wa}< From our farm which will be fully com- 
petent to support eight persons in St Louis and twthe novices in Florissant, 
moi cover, forty Indian boys, for their support we ha\e received and will 
icceive from the charity of the faithful whatever is necessary Having a 
negio family there, the produce of our farm will sell much higher, as we 
would be enabled to attend market to our advantage Our faim has given 
now a surplus of $1000 yeail), and we hope that it will continue to do so 
and that the Almighty will not dimmish his liberality We have now a very 
fine and large crop of corn, wheat and potatoes 

Twelve boarders could be and I dare say almost should be kept, paying 
for board and tuition $100 This would put us on the advance and help 
towards paying for the future chinch This once built, the pew-rent would 
give from four to five hundred dollars a year The intentions of Masses and 
alms which we get now regularly from St. Louis and which amount to $120 
a year would surely not be diminished. 

At present two Fathers would do at St. Louis to begin and two would 
remain for the Indian mission I would place at St. Louis Frs Verhaegen, 
Elet and De Smet with Rev. Fr. De Theux, whom, however, I would not 
fix at St Louis, in my absence among the Indians, he should be at Florissant 
At any rate I would not fix more than two Fathers to teach at the college 
so as to have one or two to spare for emergencies Some offer [themselves] 
for lay brothers who seem to be pretty well calculated to teach after their 
noviceship, spelling, reading, writing, arithmetic, and in that case we would 
gam a father. The mam point will be to have one who would give a reputa- 
tion to the college, would maintain strict religious discipline among Ours and 
have things in the school go on with great regularity. Of the two, Frs De 
Theux and Verhaegen, I would give the preference to Fr. Verhaegen For 
my part, if I cannot go to the Indians, I would be very willing and satisfied 
to teach for the remainder of my days a grammar class. 34 

On September I, 1828, Father Van Quickenborne announced to 
Bishop Rosati his intention o opening a college in St Louis 

In response to your solicitations as well as those of Msgr Du Bourg, we 
have decided to do the same thing here, namely, to open as soon as possible 
a college m which day-scholars will be taught free of charge. I have made 
an exchange for the College Lot, donated by Mn Connor and it is there 
that I propose to erect a building such as the subscriptions will allow. By order 
of our Superior the 3d year of probation carne to an end on the feast of St. 
Ignatius, so that now we are entirely free 35 

34 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynslu, undated, but belonging to the summer 
or fall of 1828 (B). 

35 Van Quickenborne a Rosat:, September I, 1828 (C) The St. Louis Re- 
fublicon y September 2, 1828, published the following notice "College m St 
Louis, Mo. Having been for several years earnestly solicited by the Right Rev. 
Dr. Du Bourg, late Bishop of the Diocese, and the Right Rev Dr. Rosati, his 


The people of St. Louis had pledged Van Quickenborne their aid 
in the building of the new college, and it was chiefly his reliance on their 
pledges that determined him to go ahead 36 He was not to be disap- 
pointed By the middle of November, 1828, the subscriptions amounted 
to three thousand and forty-nine dollars, about three-fourths of the cal- 
culated cost of the structure. 37 Before that date the contracts had been 

successor, and his other respectable friends of all denominations, to open a college 
in this city, the Rev Mr Charles F Van Quickenborne deems it his duty to 
inform the pibhc at large that he will soon have it m his power to comply with 
the repeated entreaties that were made to him " This was followed by another 
announcement m the Republican dated the 2 8th of the same month "College at 
St. Louis In a former publication I have acquainted the public with my desire of 
opening soon a college m this city The expression of this desire, I am assured, has 
met with the satisfaction and approbation of friends The branches of literature 
that will be taught in the institution may be reduced to the following general 
heads the Greek, Latin, English and French languages, philosophy, mathematics 
and the use of the globes, to which will be added reading, writing, book-keeping, 
etc , and should it be desired by any parents, lessons m music and drawing will 
be given The education of youth being essentially linked with the study of re- 
ligion, which is to form their hearts to virtue, while their rnmds are polished 
to arts and sciences, the learning of profane history will be interwoven with 
the study of sacred and divine objects. In religious opinions, no undue influence 
shall be exercised on the mind of any pupil A certain number of boarders will 
be received, these will have to pay a pension and conform to the rules and condi- 
tions that will be specified in the prospectus But as the primary view of the 
institution is to extend the benefit of a polite education as far as possible, day- 
scholars will have a free access to the classes and none shall be excluded but upon 
the reasonable grounds of a blemished character The spot which has been pitched 
upon for the described establishment is known by the name of College lot, situated 
in Connor's addition to St Louis " "I stayed overnight with the Jesuit Fathers 
and told them about the 6,325 francs which they are shortly to receive I learned 
from the Father Superior that the Jesuits will soon build a college m St Louis 
They have received subscriptions to the amount of three thousand silver pieces 
[dollars] " Rosati's Diary, Florissant, November 22, 1828. Souvay Collection, 
Kenrick Seminary Archives. As indicated by the letter m the text Van Quicken- 
borne had earlier, September I, 1828, brought the project of the college to 
Rosati's notice 

36 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, Florissant, November 17, 1828 (B). 

37 "The list of subscribers has unfortunately been lost but the names of 
Pierre Chouteau, Sr , Bernard Pratte, Maj Thomas Biddle, John Mullanphy and 
Col John O'Fallon were afterwards mentioned as having contributed most gen- 
erously " (Ms memorandum) (A) An incident connected with Van Quicken- 
borne's efforts to collect money for the new college is told by John F Darby, 
mayor of St Louis during the years 1835-1837, in his Personal Recollections, 
p 258. "A dinner party was given by Maj Thomas Biddle, at which I had the 
honor of being a guest The dinner was over and the company were sitting at the 
table m pleasant conversation when a servant announced to Maj. Biddle that a 
gentleman in the parlor desired to see him The major desired the company to keep 
their seats and excused himself for a moment, and soon returned to the table, 


given out. 38 The building, fifty by forty feet and three stones in height 
above the basement, was to stand on the College Lot, "the place I 
showed your Reverence," Van Qmckenborne informed Dzierozynski 
and, "in the opinion of the inhabitants, no more suitable spot for a 
college." Everything, except flooring and plastering, was to be done 
for forty-three hundred dollars, and the building was to be delivered 
August i, 1829. Payments of a thousand dollars each were to be 
made before January, April and June, 1829, and the balance on com- 
pletion of the building. Besides the money obtained through subscrip- 
tions, there were prospects of aid from other quarters. Father De Smet 
came forward with an offer, subject to the General's approval, of his 
inheritance money, amounting to three thousand dollars, while Father 
Van Quickenborne was ready to contribute his own patrimony, which 
he estimated at four or five thousand dollars. Bishop De Bourg had 
engaged at one time to provide a foundation for the permanent support 
of a faculty of eight, but was subsequently unable to realize his good 
intentions. 39 

It was at this juncture, while preparations were being made to open 
the new St. Louis College, that the name of Senator Benton appears 
for the first time in connection with the institution. 40 When Bishop 
Flaget visited St. Louis in 1817, Thomas Hart Benton was among the 
citizens to welcome him on the occasion. 41 Twelve years later he became 
interested in the projected Jesuit college in St. Louis as we learn from 
a communication of Father Van Quickenborne to his superior. "Col. 
Benton, our Senator, of his own motion has offered his services to me 
to petition Congress to allow our College in St. Louis, 48,000 [23,040] 
acres of land which is called a whole township. He says he will get 
them. General Clarke tells me the same. The land would have to be 

bringing with, him Father Van Quickenborne, who was introduced to the company 
and took his seat at the table The reverend father soon made known his business, 
which was that of asking subscriptions to build the 'college' as it was first called 
He promised that any gentleman who subscribed should not be called upon for 
the amount of his subscription until the proposed edifice should have reached the 
second story. Some gentlemen good-humoredly remarked, c On these terms we 
can all subscribe, for I think it doubtful whether the proposed structure will ever 
reach that height ' The gentlemen all laughed, the reverend solicitor of funds 
joining in, and presently said that he would very readily take the subscriptions 
on those conditions " 

88 The firm of Morton and Lavielle were the contractors of the college They 
also did the construction work on the St. Louis cathedral, finished in 1834. 

39 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, August, 1824.. (B). 

40 Thomas Hart Benton was personally known to Fathers Verhaegen and De 
Smet The latter received his son, Randolph, into the Catholic Church. Cf . De 
Smet, Western Missions and Missionaries. 

41 Spalding, Flaget, p. 171. 


sold and the product of the sales would be applied to the College. 
The fund so raised would have to be managed by a Board of Trustees, 
but the Colonel assured me that these could be taken exclusively from 
among ourselves and the petition we would have to carry to the inhab- 
itants to put their names to, which they would do All the Consultors 
are in favor of it. I do not know what to say, but an answer must be 
returned to Col. Benton Please do not lose time." 42 

Writing from Georgetown College not quite three weeks later, 
Father Dzierozynski signified his approval of Senator Benton's plan on 
the ground that "whether it succeeds or not, we run no risk " At the 
same time certain directions were furnished Van Quickenborne for nego- 
tiating the affair, the superior being insistent that the petition, if pre- 
sented at all to Congress, should be presented in the name of Senator 
Benton and the signers of the petition, and not in the name of the 
Jesuit proprietors of the college 43 In November, 1829, Van Quicken- 
borne sought an interview with the Senator at his residence in St. Louis, 
but did not find him at home. Benton had requested him to obtain 
signatures to the petition from the French residents of St. Louis, Floris- 
sant and other towns in the locality, while he himself engaged to secure 
names m the "township," as Van Quickenborne expressed it, though the 
significance of the term is not clear. 44 Almost a year later, the whole 
affair was dropped and nothing further is heard of it until some years 
later when it was finally brought to a vote in the United States Senate 45 

Meanwhile, work on the new building had proceeded far enough 
to permit the housing of the students Accordingly, on November 2, 
1829, the college was formally opened with an enrollment of ten 
boarders and thirty externs or day-scholars. Within a few weeks the 
boarders increased to thirty and the day-scholars to one hundred and 
twenty, or one hundred and fifty students in all With an unfinished 
budding and a cramped, inadequate one at that, many discomforts 
were encountered in the beginning. For the first few months the faculty 
and student-body dined in a common refectory and as late as February 
27, 1830, on which day Peter Poursme, the first student from Louisiana, 
entered the college, communication between the different floors was 
made by ladders. 46 

42 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, Florissant, August 22, 1829. (B). A 
township is 23,040 acres 

43 Dzierozynski ad Van Quickenborne, September 9, 1829. (B) 

44 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, Florissant, November 13, 1829 (B). 

45 For the final issue of Senator Benton's measure, cf infra. Chap. XXXIV, I. 

46 Hill, Historical Sketch of the St Lows University, p 41 The rate charged 
the boarders was one hundred and twenty dollars a year Father Verhaegen thought 
this excessive and so informed the superior m the East The Bishop's seminary 
was charging only eighty dollars This difference, so Verhaegen maintained, was an 


At the head of the institution, when it opened its doors, was Father 
Peter Verhaegen, whose learning, administrative capacity and social 
gifts eminently fitted him for the position. But as a matter of fact the 
institution was practically under the management of Father Van Quick- 
enborne himself, as he publicly explained to the assembled faculty, 
he had appointed Verhaegen neither rector nor president, but merely 
his representative to preside over the college until the Maryland supe- 
rior should have made a permanent appointment. Van Quickenborne 
thought it a more prudent course to retain for a while control over 
the institution which he had set on foot, for there were creditors to be 
paid and these might at any moment urge the payment of their claims 
and thus jeopardize the very existence of the infant college. He accord- 
ingly travelled once a week from his residence m Florissant to St 
Louis, there to confer with his official advisers on the affairs of the 
college Father Elet was named procurator or treasurer. "Still," Van 
Quickenborne wrote, "since there is no one else [besides Elet] to act as 
Prefect of the boys and since the two offices are incompatible, I would 
take upon myself all the external duties of Procurator and even the 
keeping of the books." Father Peter Walsh, who had entered the 
Society in Maryland and had been promised to Van Quickenborne two 
or three years before the opening of the college, was made prefect of 
studies, and, besides, gave instruction in English, geography and his- 
tory. Father De Theux, as minister, was in charge of the domestic affairs 
of the establishment, he was, moreover, professor of French and spirit- 
ual director of the students The lay brothers John O'Connor, James 
Yates and George Fitzgerald were assigned to various domestic duties 
Brother Yates later conducted an English class with much success 
The services of three boys were also employed, Beauchemm, an 
orphan, as sacristan, Charles Tayon as porter, and a third as an assistant 
in the dormitory. "Three excellent boys," Van Quickenborne describes 
them. Finally, two Negro slaves transferred from the Florissant farm, 
Ned and Thomas, were employed, the first as cook and the second, 
whom Van Quickenborne calls "an intelligent and trustworthy Negro/' 
as buyer and superintendent of the hired help. 47 

obstacle to success Missouri was too poor to send many boys at this price But Van 
Quickenborne was of another opinion Verhaegen to Dzierozynski, St. Louis, 
January 18, 1830 (B) 

47 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, November 13, 1829 (B). "We have a 
fine dormitory the cots are placed at a proper distance there are no curtains 
we can place m our study-room 120 desks We dine (the community) at the same 
hours with the boarders, but in different refectories However, for these few days 
we are together All the fathers have thought that we could and should make 
the boys sing vespers on Sundays and holidays. Of course in the beginning we 
have to help them " 


A staff of four professors at the most was not a very numerous one 
with which to man a college Van Quickenborne realized this from the 
beginning and before the publication of the prospectus was for opening 
an elementary school only without any announcement being made of a 
classical course. But he deferred to the judgment of his advisers, who 
were agreed that the institution, at its outset, should come before the 
public as a college offering the traditional classical course In the event, 
however, St. Louis College during the session 1829-1830 hardly rose 
to the level of a well-equipped grammar school Latin was not taught 
at all There were in reality but two classes, Higher and Lower English 
Higher English, taught by Father Walsh, was open to boys who had 
learned to read and could study grammar. Lower English, taught by 
Father Verhaegen, was for those who, as Van Quickenborne himself 
expressed it, "have never studied English grammar, are learning their 
ABC and reading " Among the text-books used during the first session 
were Webster's Spelling Book, Murray's English Reader, Murray's 
Small Grammar, Murray's Large Grammar, Pike's Arithmetic, Hut- 
ton's Mathematics, Smiley's Geography, Reeve's History of the Bible, 
Goldsmith's Greece at$d Rome, and Levizac's French Grammar 48 

Latin was first taught m the session 1830-1831 and Greek in the 
session 1832-1833, Father De Theux was the pioneer professor of Latin 

48 Van Quickenborne to Dzierozynski, November 13, 1829 (B). There is 
extant a set of regulations which Van Quickenborne forwarded to Dzierozynski 
for approval The document is in Van Quickenborne's handwriting, who probably 
himself drew it up Some extracts follow 

"i Studies are held m the Common Hall. One of the Professors presides and 
one or more tribunes according to the number of students 

2 The Tribunes are charged with what regards good order and discipline in 
the Study-hall and the same obedience is to be paid to them, in what- 
soever has reference to their office, as to the Professor This post is filled by 
the most exact and diligent 

3 The first studies of the day are commenced by morning prayers, the others 
by Vem Sancte Spiritus and Ave Marta and close with sub tuum y etc. 

4 After prayer, each student takes from his desk whatsoever he may want 
during studies At the expiration of three minutes the first Tribune will 
give the signal to shut them During the time of school it will be permitted 
to open them once or twice at a given signal, but independently of those 
occasions it will not be allowed and every infringement will be noted by 
the Tribune unless permission for so doing has been granted 

5. Profound silence must reign during the time of studies The 1st tribune 
has an elevated and a distinguished place, having a sheet of paper divided 
into several columns before him In one are inserted the names of those 
who talk or are noisy, the second will contain the names of such as are 
idle, the 3d of those who move from their place or open their desks, the 
4th of such as having been three times marked as idlers, or talkers 01 
noisy continue to merit the same reproach In the last place the tribune 


and, though proclaimed superior of the Missouri Mission m February, 
1831, continued to teach his class until the end of the session. He was 
superseded in October, 1831, by Van Quickenborne. "I thank >ou for 
the Greek books," wrote Father De Theux to his mother, the Countess 
De Theux of Liege m Belgium. "They will begin to teach this branch 
m St. Louis College at Easter or the following October [1832]. Father 
Van Quickenborne replaces me at St, Louis m Latin. ... He has a 
good class of almost fifteen. Last year I sometimes had only two or 
three pupils." 49 

A document forwarded to the Father General in January, 1832, 
presents a carefuly prepared survey of academic and other conditions 
in St Louis College at this period. 

The school began November 2, 1829 The pupils at present [January, 
1832] are boarders, 29, half-boarders, 6, day-scholars, 117 Total, 152 
The first pay $120 a year and $10 for entrance, the second, $60 a year 
and $5 for entrance. Of the boarders 25 are Catholics, of the half-boarders, 
5, of the day-scholars, 71. Total number of Catholics, 101. Protestants 
boarders, 4, half-boarders, II, day-scholars, 46. Total number of Prot- 
estants, 51. 

Besides morning and evening prayers the boarders have Mass every day, 
spiritual reading for a quarter of an hour, rosary, and (m the lower classes) 
Christian Doctrine daily On Sundays they have an exhortation m the 
chapel and after dinner Christian Doctrine m common The Protestant 
boarders are ^ always present at religious exercises and listen to Christian 
Doctrine when it is given to the Catholics though they do not learn it Ques- 
tions are sometimes proposed to them and this even m the case of the 
Protestant day-scholars The Protestants, however, are not admitted to Mass 
and exhortation unless the parents expressly ask for it. The Catholic day- 
scholars are present at Mass every day according to rule, on Sunday they 

shall go to the place of the delinquent and place thereon these words, 
Sigmtm figritiae, to which he affixes the delinquent's name The culprit 
is to present this note to the Rector at the end of evening studies. 
6. They must attend to the lectures [i e reading] during meals, which is per- 
formed m turn by the best readers and they are to be prepared to give an 
account of it when the presiding person shall require it. 

The students walk three by three and talk in a moderate tone of voice until 
they arrive m the country Then they are allowed to confound their ranks when 
the Prefect gives the sign They resume their ranks when they draw near the 
city and no one shall take or admit of any other companions than those ap- 
pointed At the head of the band is a conductor, ordinarily one of those who 
have the crosses of diligence No one can precede him nor must they have a 
great interval between the ranks 

To go to grog-shops is forbidden under pain of dismission " (B) 

49 De Theux a sa mere, October 12, 1831 (A) 


must be piesent at Mass, exhortation and Christian Doctrine However, m 
wmtei ftw come on Sundays and fewer on the other days 

In the preparatoiy Class there are 50 pupils, m the Third English 
Grammar, 30, m Second, 29, in First, 30, m Rhetoric, 13, Total, 152. 
The course of studies aims to give the youths a good knowledge of English, 
as far as required for commercial pursuits There are 5 classes, each having 
its own teacher. One of these is a layman of the world. The classes are so 
many not by reason of diversity of studies but by reason of the number of 

The boys are taught to spell, that is to say, to form words fiom the 
letters of the alphabet, and to read, also they are taught some geography In 
the three higher classes they are exeicised m composition, eg they write 
letteis, stones, etc The highest class, called Rhetoric, studies Jameson's Pre- 
cepts of Rhetonc, also a compendium of Blair. Three times a week they write 
amplifications or else compositions on an assigned theme There are 13 pupils 
in this class Father Vice-Rector [Verhaegen] teaches a class m Fiench an 
hour every day and also a class m natural philosophy in the afternoon of 
recreation days and on Sundays Of the total number of pupils, both boarders 
and day-scholars, only eight take Latin Two hours daily are given to the 
study of this language except on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when only one 
hour is given. The students read Cornelius Nepos, are practiced m grammar 
and tianslate simple sentences from Latin into English and vice-versa Noth- 
ing is so far given m Greek There is no immediate hope of introducing a 
course of studies according to standards obtaining in the colleges of out 
Society. Time devoted to study three hours m the morning, including the 
time for penmanship, taught by three masters, and three hours in the after- 
noon Moreover, lectures m natural philosophy are given three times a 
week, as noted above. In natural philosophy the various phenomena of 
Natuie are explained without any application of algebra or calculus 50 


The meagre staff with which the college started was soon reenforced 
by accessions from the East. On October 12, 1831, Father John Van 
Lommel and Mr Judocus Van Sweevelt arrived from Georgetown. 
They were followed twelve days later, October 24, by Father James 
Oliver Van de Velde, who had made the journey from the East m com- 
pany with Father Peter Kenney, Visitor of the Missouri Mission, and 
the latter's socms or assistant. Father William McSherry. Father Van 

50 Descnptio et status Collegn Sti. Ludovici, mense Januano, 1832 (A A) 
The student-body, classified according to occupation of parents, numbered as 
follows (January, 1832) farmer, 14, carpenter, 24, store-keeper, 22, hunter, 13, 
blacksmith, 7, Indian trader, 6, tavern-keeper, 6, leather-dealer and shoemaker, 4, 
inn-keeper, 4, confectioner, 3, mason and brick-layer, 3, soap-maker, 2, baker, 4, 
butcher, 2 , surveyor, I , physician, I , lawyer, I , miller, I , gentleman, I , saddle- 
maker, I, day-laborer, 7, dress-maker, 9, laundrywoman, I. 


Lommel was better equipped to take up the duties of a missionary priest 
than those of a college instructor, but circumstances made it necessary 
for him to fill a gap for a while in the college faculty Shortly after his 
arrival in St. Louis he wrote to Father Dzierozynski in the East 
"Father Superior told me I was not for the College. However, as 
Father Van de Velde had not yet arrived and Bro Yates was sick, he 
sent me back till further order , the next day, i e. Friday, I began 
to schoolmaster and was at it seven hours a day." 51 Van Lommel, after 
a few weeks of class-room experience, was assigned to missionary duties 
in the neighborhood of St Louis. 

"You recollect the old proverb, Inadtt m Scyllam etc.," wrote Van 
de Velde to Father George Fenwick at Georgetown. "It is applicable 
to me m its fullest extent. When at Georgetown I was only up to the 
waist in schoolmaster's business, I could throw my arms about a little, 
but here I am m it up to the ears All I can do is to keep my head half 
above water. It is all but drowning Father Van Lommel is by this time 
galloping on an old bare-bone nag through St Charles and its vicinity." 
In the same letter written to the East Van de Velde details some typical 
scenes of the day on the western frontier 

The Missouri (which I have not yet seen) is said to be still more im- 
petuous To give you an example of it There was, but a few years ago, 
whilst all Ours lived at Florissant together, an island m the neighborhood 
of that place at least a mile long and J^ a mile wide, in which it was 
supposed there grew about 12,000 large trees and on which there were two 
dwelling houses the whole of this disappeared in less than two days all 
was swept away Another object of curiosity to us three wise men from the 
East at least [Fathers Kenney, McSherry, Van de Velde], is the almost 
continual influx of strangers from other States, the public road which leads 
to the interior of this State passes before our College and along it you may 
see every day, men, women and children on foot or in wagons and other 
vehicles, cows, horses, wagons, carts, emigrating westward and forming a 
complete procession. Whole bands have to wait at the ferry-boat, which is a 
pretty large steam-boat and is almost always crowded Others to arrive from 
Pittsburg, Wheeling and other places on the Ohio, especially Louisville, in 
steam-boats and flat-boats Even this morning, iyth of November, a part of 
an Indian tribe has arrived here from the limits of Canada via Pittsburg and 
the remainder of the tribe is soon expected they are all civilized, dress like 
white men and are going to form a settlement in the Arkansas Territory 
I would suppose that they are Catholics Tell Father Dzierozynski that his 
friend, the Rev. Mr. Saulmer has just packed up to go and establish himself 
somewhere [Post Arkansas] among the Indians in that territory One of the 
recently ordained priests [Father Beauprez] is to accompany him Mr. 
Chouteau [Pierre Chouteau, Jr , Cadet], the most respected gentleman of 

51 Van Lommel to Dzierozynski, St. Louis, December 2, 1831. (B). 


our whole city is on his way to Georgetown with his lady he has a daugh- 
ter at the Academy they left here last Monday it was Mr Chouteau who 
placed the two Jarrots at the College and his younger brother Louis Phara- 
mond, who died last spring I have given him an introductory letter to 
Father Mulledy He is a very great friend of Ours his son [Charles P 
Chouteau] was the first boarder at this college. The Hon. Mr Benton too 
will leave in a few days He is a special friend of Father Verhaegen and of 
the institution 52 

In 1832 and again 1833 St. Louis was visited by the Asiatic cholera. 
When the plague was at its height, the boarders were removed from 
St Louis University to the novitiate at Florissant. No member either 
of the faculty or student body fell a victim to the disease, though the 
death rate throughout the city ran high. 53 "The cholera is still at St 
Louis," Verhaegen wrote to the East, June 23, 1833. "Almost four or 
five persons die of it every day. The disease, however, causes no longer 
any alarm among the citizens. As every case of sickness is an attack of 
cholera at present, people seem to have come to the determination not 
to mind whether they are exposed to the danger of dying of cholera or 
of bilious fever as they formerly were. We had no case of the epidemic 
at the institution but we have all felt (and do sometimes yet feel) 
some unusual oppression in the breast or some other premonitory symp- 
tom. We are continually on the alert. A few days ago one of the 
boarders seemed to be taken with the disease. I undertook to cure him as 
the doctor could not be had immediately and by rubbing him hard with 
camphor dissolved in brandy and wrapping him in six or seven blankets, 

52 Van de Velde to George Fenwick, St. Louis, November 1 6, 1831. (B). 

53 Ann Prop, 7 174 "Under my own eyes, at St Louis, while, out of a 
population of some six thousand inhabitants about two hundred individuals suc- 
cumbed m the short space of three or four weeks, St Louis University, which 
contained at the time about one hundred and twenty persons, and the Convent 
of the Ladies of the Sacred Heart with their boarding-school of young ladies 
[on South Broadway near French Market] . did not within their enclosures 
present a single one of those lugubrious scenes which without and up to their 
very doors spread desolation and alarm " De Smet a Madame de Theux, February 
1 8, 1834 "Of all the members of the Society, none appears to have been attacked 
by cholera, although all the Fathers made it their duty to attend the cholera 
patients entrusted to their care, Catholics as also Protestants when they desired it, 
during the whole duration of the epidemic, that is, for three months and through- 
out night and day Many non-Catholics, at least ninety, adults and children, en- 
tered the Church's fold, a happiness they owe principally to Fathers Smedts and 
Van Quickenborne " Letter of De Theux in Ann. Prof, 7 173 In July, 1833, a 
destructive tornado lasting four or five minutes visited St. Louis and its environs 
At the University a panic which seemed imminent among the students m the 
dormitory was averted by the presence of mmd of Father Verhaegen, the rector, 
who quickly rushed among them and allayed their fears 


succeeded in removing the apparent signs of the sickness." In August of 
the same year Father Verhaegen wrote again "We have a great deal 
of sickness at St. Louis The cholera left the city but the bilious fever 
sweeps our citizens off as fast as the cholera could do. We have had as 
many as twenty burials a day, and regularly almost twelve die of the 
fever every twenty-four hours From the letter received from Louisiana 
it appears that New Orleans is quite healthy at present, but the interior 
of the country is still sickly and this circumstance continues to check 
the growth of our house." 54 

The original building had been found inadequate from the first days 
of the institution and additions to it were soon made. An east wing, 
forty by forty, was begun in the spring of 1832, and a west wing, forty- 
two by forty, was constructed in the summer of 1833. The same year 
saw the construction of an infirmary, a two-story brick building with 
basement for kitchen, and of a brick house for the servants. 55 

The very slender proportions of the teaching-staff of St Louis Col- 
lege during the first few years of its career had the inevitable result 
that the professors were overwhelmed with scholastic duties. In 1833 
Father Verhaegen, the rector, was spending four and a half hours 
daily in the class-room. Brother James Yates was teaching an elementary 
English class six hours a day, besides discharging the important duties of 
mfirmanan. The strain proved too great for his feeble constitution and 
he succumbed to consumption, dying February i, 1833, at the age of 
twenty-six. The strenuous service of a life absorbingly devoted to the 
ministry of teaching was crowned with the peace and resignation of a 
holy death. His place in the class-room could not be supplied and twenty 
of the students were thereupon dismissed. If Verhaegen had not feared 

54 Verhaegen to McSherry, St Louis, June 23, August 23, 1833 (B). Father 
Roothaan wrote to St Louis that none of the numerous Jesuits engaged in at- 
tending the cholera-stricken in Austria, France, Belgium, England, and elsewhere 
m Europe had succumbed to the disease. He also noted that drinks of sugared 
water, hot or cold, taken until perspiration was induced had been found to be a 
remedy for the cholera. Roothaan ad Van Qmckenborne, Oct. 23, 1832 (AA). 
For details of the cholera epidemic of 1833 in St Louis, cf. Stella M Drumm 
(ed), Gltmfses of the Past (Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis), 3.45 et seq. 


55 Verhaegen to McSherry, August 17, 1833. (B). "We commenced building 
the infirmary, it will be a 3 story building 25 2 20 ... I agreed with Mr. Darst 
also for the addition of the other wing Both buildings must be up on the 1st of 
next September This wing will be 42 feet long. Hence the buildings of the new 
wing will be 131 ft. long on the 1st of the above month. What do you say of that? 
But, my friend, we are in debt and you know what it is to be m that situation. We 
rely on Providence and hope that the Lord will again provide for us." Verhaegen 
to McSherry, St. Louis, June 23, 1833. (B). 


to offend the patrons of the institution, a larger number would have 
been sent away Father Roothaan urged the college authorities to hire 
lay professors and servants and thus relieve the strain on their own 
men, but lay help was expensive and the low state of the college treas- 
ury forbade much outlay in this direction. 56 Moreover, it was difficult to 
secure satisfactory laymen for the class-room In February, 1833, three 
young men were teaching English in the lower classes, but Father 
Verhaegen was unable to say how long they would remain at their 
posts "If there is any place in the world," he laments to the Father 

56 Father De Smet, appointed procurator or treasurer of St Louis College in 
1830, became alarmed over the financial outlook for the institution "What troubles 
me most is a heavy debt of upwards of 300 dollars to the bank of St Louis to 
be paid within two months and about the same sum to individuals in St Louis 
Considering our scanty means and a general want of almost everything, it will be 
almost impossible to cancel them without succour from other quarters " De Smet 
to Dzierozynski, October 4, 1830 (B) The following year an inviting prospect 
of relief seemed to be held out by an endowment-fund of five thousand dollars 
offered by John Mullanphy The gift, however, was subject to onerous conditions 

1 I ) Five boys were to be educated at the college on the annual interest of the fund 

(2) They were to be provided with everything necessary to keep them on a level 
with the other boarders of the institution (3) They were to be selected by the 
rector of the college from the orphans attending the orphan asylum to be opened 
in St Louis under the superintendence of the Sisters of Charity (4.) The college 
was not to be obliged to keep them should they prove immoral or unfit to 
receive a classical education (5) When of age to learn a trade, the rector was 
to be authorized to bind them to some mechanic for the purpose of having them 
learn a trade. On first consideration (November 28, 1831) the college board of 
consulters unanimously recommended the acceptance of the Mullanphy offer pro- 
vided the obligation to be assumed under number 5 could be modified On the 
occasion of a visit which he paid in company with Father Kenney, the Visitor, to 
Mr Mullanphy, Father Verhaegen, so he thought, had convinced the philanthropist 
that three was the maximum number of orphans which the endowment would 
support However, when the latter died m 1833, his will revealed that the original 
number, five, had been retained Even then Verhaegen was for accepting the bequest 
on the ground that, with a large number of boaiders, the expenses for five addi- 
tional ones would be negligible Moreover, the trust could be surrendered any 
time it was found too burdensome Verhaegen ad Roothaan, November 12, 1833 
(AA) On the other hand, Father De Theux opposed acceptance of the trust, as 
the expenses of each orphan, so he declared, would come to eighty dollars annually 
Further, in case the Jesuits declined the bequest, it was to go to St Mary's College 
at the Barrens, the president of which was reported to be willing to accept it, so 
that the education and support of the orphans would in any case be provided for 
In the end neither institution accepted the Mullanphy trust For St Louis College 
the matter was definitely settled by Father Roothaan "Mr Mullanphy's legacy 
cannot by any means be accepted with that condition To take care of orphans 
in this number would be an excessive burden not only financially, but from the 
standpoint of conscience Going off at twelve years of age to learn a trade, as 
they would, what advantage would these boys derive from education at our hands?" 
Roothaan ad De Theux, February 15^ 1834 (AA). 

St Louis University Original structure, Washington Avenue and Ninth Street, St 
Louis Middle section erected, 1829, east wing, 1832, west wing, 1833 Photo- 
graph taken by Father Charles Charropm, SJ, shortly before the building was 


General, "where fickleness lords it over the souls of the young, it is 
America." 57 

The great majority of the day-scholars came from poor or moder- 
ately circumstanced families. They greatly outnumbered the boarders 
the first two or three years, counting about eighty per cent of the regis- 
tration in January, 1832. Somewhat two years later, in May, 1834, the 
proportions were decidedly reversed, the day-scholars numbering only 
twenty and the boarders one hundred and forty or nearly ninety per cent 
of the registration. This rise in the number of boarders was due mainly 
to two causes, the increased capacity of the college for this class of regis- 
trants through the addition of two wings to the original building and 
the yearly practice, begun in 1832, of sending a father to the southern 
states for the purpose, though not exclusively so, of canvassing for new 
students On the other hand, the fallmg-off in the number of day- 
scholars appears to have been due, among other causes, to the opening 
of new day-schools in St. Louis and the circumstance that the course 
of studies m St. Louis College was arranged chiefly with a view to the 
boarders. 58 Moreover, fusion between boarders and day-students in the 
class-room and on the play grounds, as had been the custom since the 
college was opened, was thought to result in a lower moral tone among 
the boarders, always reputed the more select body of the two. A pro- 
fessor reported that while morals were running at a low ebb in St Louis, 
letters, objectionable books and town-talk reached the boarders through 
the medium of the city boys, with whom they were associated daily. 
The one remedy for the evil seemed to be a separate class-building for 
the city boys and also separate play grounds. 

Commenting on the situation m a letter of May, 1834, to the 
General, Father Verhaegen noted that the number of day-scholars had 
been reduced to twenty, all of them under twelve years of age and 
diverting themselves less than an hour a day in the college yard. This 
was too small in area to allow of division. As to separating the two 
groups of students, this might have been done successfully by Van 
Quickenborne m the beginning. Now it could not be attempted without 
being misinterpreted by the public and giving rise to protest on the 
part of St. Louis citizens who had subscribed for the original building 
and were now sending their sons to college. That the boarders were 
favored in everything regarding instruction at the expense of the day- 
scholars had never been the case, so Verhaegen declared, though he 
admitted that complaint on this score was a partial reason at least 
why numerous day-scholars had been withdrawn. 59 In 1838 a day-school 

5T Verhaegen ad Roothaan, St Louis, February 14, 1831. (AA). 

68 Hill, of. cit , p 42. 

69 Verhaegen ad Roothaan, St Louis, May 9, 1834 (AA). 


was opened in a separate building, but it was only in the middle forties 
that the courses for the day-students were placed on a satisfactory foot- 
ing. 60 Both for material upkeep and prestige the institution had always 
to place its chief reliance on the boarders, a circumstance that militated 
for many years against the building up of a strong day-department. 
In this connection. Father George Carreli, a future rector of St. Louis 
University, protesting against the practice of sending a father to the 
South to canvas for students, was to express himself as follows "Father 
Van de Velde, who is now on his tour, is to extend his visit to Havana, 
so that we traverse Louisiana and even go outside of the United States 
to look for scholars, whilst we are living in the suburbs of one of the 
most thriving and public spirited cities of our noble republic and yet 
do nothing to advance her children m science and virtue. We have 
scarcely 12 day-scholars and these among the poorest and most ragged 
of the town " 61 

The initial years of the educational work of the Society of Jesus in 
St. Louis were naturally beset with the difficulties that attend pioneering 
of any sort. One would not therefore expect its members to consider 
seriously the opening of another college when they were so hard put to 
it m men and means to maintain the institution actually in hand And 
yet such proved to be the case. An invitation from Bishop De Neckere 
of New Orleans to the Jesuits to extend their educational activities to 
his diocese was received with eagerness at St. Louis Early m 1831 
Father Verhaegen was seeing little prospect of any notable increase of 
students in St Louis "We live," he wrote to the General, "in the 
youngest of the United States Year by year there is a great mpourmg 
of settlers from all sides. All things in the State seem to take on a 
character of infancy and change and instability On this account we 
cannot hope for that solid zeal for letters which is elsewhere in evi- 
dence and only when this flow of things material subsides will solid 
love for the sciences spring up in the youth of Missouri. Such, however, 
is the situation of our college that m my opinion it will not soon, if at 
any time, have a large number of boarders. . . . Our only hope of 
increase is in Lower Louisiana." 62 

Verhaegen's apprehensions as to a chronic meagre registration of 
boarders at St. Louis proved groundless within the space of two or 
three years ; but he still cherished the hope of an affiliated Jesuit school, 
as he called it, in Louisiana. In August, 1832, he was writing to Rome 

opened a day-school m a separate building Thus far we have but 1 5 
pupils in it They pay at the rate of 50 Dls a year " Verhaegen ad McSherry, 
St Louis, October 20, 1838. (B). 

61 Carrell to Roothaan, St. Louis, February 15, 1838^) (AA) 

62 Verhaegen ad Roothaan, January 15, 1831 (AA). 


that, were the General to send him three men capable of teaching 
Latin and French, he could, with some shifting about of the St Louis 
personnel, set up a school in Louisiana On the other hand, Father 
Walsh, of the St. Louis faculty, was advising Father Roothaan that it 
seemed to him quite impossible for the Jesuits to begin a new institution 
"We can scarcely and, not even as much as that, supply all the needs 
of this college of St Louis." 63 Walsh's view of the situation was no 
doubt the correct one Accordingly, when Van de Velde pleaded with 
the General that the Mission of Missouri be authorized to seize what 
seemed an exceptional opportunity to advance the cause of the Church 
in Louisiana by establishing a college in that state, the latter sounded 
a timely note of warning "For the rest I cannot too earnestly recom- 
mend that if you must at all costs hasten, you hasten slowly, lest by 
undertaking too many things you be unable to carry on and, in fine, 
succeed in building nothing but rums. And let us never forget that it is 
better for us to do a few things well than many things badly. There 
are pressing needs, I admit But God does not require us to do what 
cannot be done properly, and after those most holy aspirations 'hal- 
lowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, 3 we are taught to add imme- 
diately, c thy will be done,' the Divine Will being therefore the last 
and surest rule of everything that is good." 64 

Side-lights of interest on St. Louis College in its opening years are 
to be found in letters written by Father Verhaegen to Father McSherry 
of Georgetown College. Verhaegen had been installed as rector of St. 
Louis College on September i, 1831. 

There is no possibility, dear Father, that this institution will ever be able 
to cope with your far celebrated establishment The East has too many 
advantages over the West, and as you have perceived, education is not much 
attended to here Should our Very Rev Father General enable us to open a 
college in Louisiana, and should this be, as it were, the Mother house, then 
the two places might in process of time be both very flourishing . . . Our 
exhibition succeeded very well As we had not a room large enough to 
accommodate our visitors on that day, we constructed a spacious tent m our 
yard. This afforded much gratification to the people, the weather being 
extremely hot Gen'l Atkinson sent us ten of the best musicians of his band 
and these gave a great deal of life to the performances . . Mr Fremon 
delivered a long oration at the court house, and Mn Thomas Taylor, your 
cousin, addressed the audience on the Declaration of our Independence, 
which he read St Louis was enraptured by our students 65 

63 Walsh ad Roothaan, February 15, 1833 (AA). 

64 Roothaan ad Van de Velde, June 18, 1833. (AA) 

65 Verhaegen to McSherry, St. Louis, August 17, 1833 (B). 


Our n^w w ncr & now 'eadj to receive the roof Our workmen in Mis- 
*oun are nvritt slow, Tk\ alwajs promise, they never refuse, but without 
any ceremom on the.r pait, the) let us wait. We have now come to the 
resolution of s^toppin^ impimmg our place till we get out of debt Hence, 
^hen I will ha\t eiectcd, constructed, raised, pit up and completed a smoke 
house, the expense of \vhch may not reach $150, I must consign all my 
otner plans to the daricnt^ of ont of the drawers of my desk, there to lie, 
HI they shall be called into action again 66 

We had latcl} a little fray here but it did not last long Owing to 
different weighty reasons, I dismissed Mr Eaton, one of our lay-professors 
Four of h*$ favorite pets could not bear the step I took with him, it was 
quite unceremonious They started with him and attempted to draw several 
other students with them They went down to Louisiana and strove to 
prejudice several parents against us. Happily, they are firm and go hand in 
hand with me and far from losing ground by this occurrence we increased 
the confidence of those who ha\e their children with us . 67 

You are not unacquainted with the severe tnals we experienced here 
and certain it is that they have been the means used by Providence to crown 
our labors with a success which five years ago we did not anticipate 
Father Elet started for Louisiana on the I4th mst He will spend the winter 
in the South and try to collect what is due to the institution. Times are hard 
at St Louis, and money is scarce . . . Before next April we shall have our 
full number, 150 boarders This is the ne plus ultra Our buildings cannot 
accommodate more. Thank God I have at present very able and edifying 
secular professors They assist at Mass with the students every day and they 
regularly frequent the sacraments, . . . 68 

The number of boarders somewhat decreased owing to a circumstance 
which we anticipated and which we can control No Father was sent to 
Louisiana last fall and parents do not like to send their children up the river 
unless accompanied by a trusty person. Quod dtffertur non aujertur We have 
at present 126 boarders, se\eral half-boarders, and more day-scholars than 
we can accommodate, forty or fifty. We are obliged to refuse some every 
week. We have commenced a building 80 ft. by 30. The basement will be 
a storeroom, the second story an exhibition hall and study hall, and the third 
story a dormitory. When ready, I will be ready to lodge more boarders and 
then it will be time for one of us to make an excursion to Louisiana. 69 

66 Same to same, October 16, 1833. (B). 

57 Same to same, November 5, 1834 (&) 

68 Same to same, i834( ? ). (B). 

69 Same to same, May 14, 1836. (B) Father Van de Velde, who was usually 
designated to canvass the Louisiana field for students, received his first appointment 
to this duty with great diffidence. "Father Verhaegen has intimated to me that I 
have been appointed by the higher powers at Florissant to perform the expedition 
to Louisiana" Van de Velde to McSherry, St. Louis, February 12, 1832 (B) 
"We have some prospects from that quarter. He [Van de Velde] has [?] boys 
engaged, but he mentions in his last letter that Georgetown College enjoys every- 



According to the letter of its rule the Society of Jesus may not 
assume the management of a college unless it be provided with an 
endowment adequate enough to meet all current expenses and so make 
it unnecessary to require tuition-fees from the students In this manner 
St. Ignatius sought to realize the principle of free instruction in all 
institutions under Jesuit control "All that are under the obedience of 
the Society must remember that they are to give freely what they have 
freely received, neither demanding nor admitting any reward or alms/' 
whereby any of the Society's ministries "may seem to be recom- 
pensed." 70 In the Society of the pre-Suppression period, with adequate 
endowments at hand bestowed by princes and other individuals of 
wealth, the principle was successfully applied, but the new or restored 
Society of Jesus, at least in English-speaking countries, found itself 
facing an entirely different situation. The ample material means of the 
former age were no longer available. The endowed or founded college 
was the exception. The financing of Jesuit schools became therefore 
a pressing problem, to be solved only by the obvious expedient of 
requiring the students to pay for their education or, more correctly, 
for the current expenses of the institution which they attend. The prob- 
lem touched the day-schools principally, there being obviously no objec- 
tion to the boarding-schools exacting payment for the support of their 
inmates. Tuition-money became eventually a recognized means for the 
maintenance of Jesuit schools in English-speaking lands, but the Gen- 
erals held out long against the innovation and it was permitted only 
after all other means of solving the problem had been put to the test 
and failed. 

In the United States the issue became acute with the establishment 
of the Washington Seminary. This institution, opened in the national 
capital September 29, 1820, primarily for the education of Jesuit theo- 
logical students, was so hampered by lack of means to ensure its upkeep 
that on September 8 of the following year a day-school, "with classes 
up to syntax," was opened in connection with it, the theological students 
being employed as teachers and so deriving their support from the 
tuition-fees of the students. The day-school seemed to be a happy expedi- 
ent to enable the Jesuit scholastics at once to pursue their studies and 
meet the expenses of livelihood. But Father Fortis, the General, stood 

where in L n * the highest respect, which it is not only our duty, but also our 
intention to sustain, because they are kind enough to associate us in some measure 
with the Georgetown institution, both colleges being conducted by members of 
the same Society 55 Van Lommel to Dzierozynski, April 30, 1832. (B). 
70 Rules of the Society of Jesus (Roehampton, England, 1863), p. II. 


agaimt the acceptance of tuition-fees, declaring that he could 
rot -n conscience tolerate the practice as being openly at variance with 
the rel'gious povertj enjoined b> the Jesuit rule It was his mind that 
the iibtitut^on be either continued as a free school or closed In vain 
Father Kohlmann, the Maryland superior, represented that in the 
United States the support of Catholic pastors and teachers could be 
guaranteed in no other \\a\ than by fees or stipends, and that, more- 
over, so strong was the prejudice against free schools that people with 
social pretensions refused to patronize them for the education of their 
children. 71 A plan to use the revenues of the White Marsh plantation 
for the upkeep of the Washington school seemed to promise the neces- 
san relief, but this plan not being carried out, resort was had to 
another measure, namely, the transfer of the institution to the Reverend 
William Matthews, pastor of St. Patrick's Church, Washington, who 
conducted it m his own name, the Jesuit teachers being provided by 
him \\ith board, lodging and clothing This plan, however, does not 
appear to have been successful, and Father Fortis, not being minded 
to rescind his prohibition against the charging of tuition-fees, the Wash- 
ington day-school was definitely closed September 25, 1827 Three years 
later Father Kennev, the Visitor, under instruction to see that the regu- 
lations of Father Fortis were rigorously carried out, reported from 
Georgetown to Father Roothaan that the alleged prejudices against 
free schools did not exist or if they had existed were no longer in 
evidence, and he expressed the opinion that the existing legislation 
in regard to tuition-money should not be modified. 72 

At St Louis Father Kenney found the Jesuits charging the day- 
scholars five dollars a year, "which," so he reported, "though a mere 
pittance, is still real tuition-money [Mmervale] deriving from a legal 
contract and is far in excess of the expenses incurred on their [the day- 
scholars] behalf, if the teachers be left out of account." But the Visitor 
deprecated any interference with this arrangement on the part of the 
Father General until further information reached him 73 That the 
income from tuition-money did not cover the living expenses of the 
teachers becomes evident from the financial statement of St. Louis Col- 
lege submitted by the Visitor to the General. According to this state- 
ment the total receipts from tuition-money from the opening of the 
college, November 4, 1829, to February 25, 1832, was only $777.25. 
This sum, however, curious to say, sufficed "not only to keep the house 
clean, whitewash it, paint doors, windows, etc , but also to provide the 

71 Kohlmann ad Fortis, February 19, 1826 (AA) 

"Kenney ad Roothaan, July 3, 1830. (AA) For Kenney's visitation of the 
Missouri Mission cf. infra, Chap X 

73 Kenney ad Roothaan, April 25, 1832. (AA). 


class-rooms and some of the living-rooms with stoves and fire-wood 
for the same, all during a space of nearly three years. Moreover^ these 
expenses being met, there remained a surplus of $67 62^." 74 

In Father Van Quickenborne the principle of free instruction had 
always found an ardent supporter He had been at Florissant but a few 
months when, the project of a college m St Louis beginning to occupy 
his attention, he wrote to his superior in Maryland that a school in the 
city would probably draw recruits to the order, especially if "according 
to the Institute" the Jesuits taught "gratis." 75 Again, in August of the 
same year, 1824, he expressed to his superior his sentiments on the same 
subject "I must say that I rejoice at the resolution your Reverence has 
taken not to permit money to be received for teaching boys at Wash- 
ington. The more we shall stick to the orders of St. Ignatius, inspired 
by God in writing them, the more we shall draw down the blessing 
of God on our undertakings If your Reverence sees anything that we 
do here against holy poverty, let me know and I will change it imme- 
diately." 76 Yet despite his commendable zeal for the system of gratui- 
tous education to which the Society was committed by historical prece- 
dent and rule, Van Quickenborne, as he prepared to open the new 
college in St. Louis, found himself facing a perplexing situation. Some 
pertinent inquiries were addressed by him to the superior: 

Allow me to propose a few questions 

1. Is it lawful to require from parents who send their boys to school in 
St Louis or St Charles a fee m money with which to meet the cost of the 
building ? In St. Louis many subscribe on condition that they pay for the 
education of their children. I answered if they wish, they may I should 
receive the money as a donation or alms You certainly cannot live, if you 
receive nothing, and if you labor for us, it is our duty to support you 

2. Is it lawful to receive such donation or alms? All the consultors 
answered affirmative to both. 

3. Since m these parts there is need of a fire in school, is it lawful to 
demand something m payment for the wood? 

4 Also for the making and use of the benches? 

Van Quickenborne was clearly at cross-purposes between some very 
insistent conditions and his conscientious regard for religious poverty. 
He rounds off his list of inquiries with the significant reflection, "de- 
siderawMs $uwtatem yawpertatis," "we desire poverty in all its genuine- 
ness." 77 In the event St. Louis College opened with a nominal charge 

74 Descrtptto et status College S Ludovici, mense Jonuano y 1832. (AA) 

75 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, January i, 1824 (B) 

76 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, August, 1824 (B) 

77 Van Quickenborne ad Dzierozynski, November 17, 1828. (B). 


required trom the da> -scholars. "We began on November 4th [1829], 
Have r r boarders and 30 da> -scholars, who pay $5 a year for fuel and 

The attempt to maintain the college on what was practically a basis 
of gratuitous instruction was soon found to be impracticable The rector, 
Father Verhaegen, pointed out to the General early in 1833 that five 
hundred dollars, the annual salary of a single lay-professoi , absorbed the 
tuition-fees of a hundred students. 79 Moreover, Catholic parents were 
not rare \\ho preferred to send their sons even to non-Catholic insti- 
tutions rather than have them attend a free school with its alleged 
note of social inferiority. The Jesuit law of free instruction was there- 
fore working against the very intention of the lawgiver by denying in 
effect the advantages of Christian education to the children of the well- 
to-do. The situation thus brought about became necessarily a matter 
of grave concern, not to the Jesuits only, but to Bishop Rosati of St. 
Louis, who was interested in seeing a flourishing Catholic college grow 
up m his diocese. It is altogether likely that the matter was seriously 
discussed between the Bishop and the St Louis Jesuits, including the 
Visitor, Father Kenney, but there is no direct evidence pointing to this 
fact in the correspondence of the day. At all events, it was the head 
of the St Louis diocese and not members of the order who finally peti- 
tioned the Holy See for a dispensation from that point of the Jesuit 
rule which forbade them to receive money or be otherwise compensated 
in a material way for the instruction they imparted. Two letters of 
Bishop Rosati dealing with the affair, one of date May 10, 1832, ad- 
dressed to Father Roothaan, the other dated three days later and 
addressed to the Congregation of the Propaganda, were brought by a 
diocesan priest of New Orleans, Father Jeanjean, to Rome, where they 
appear to have arrived only late in the same year. 

Early m January, 1833, the Secretary of the Propaganda, Msgr. 
Castracane, requested from the Jesuit General an expression of opinion 
on the question at issue. Father Roothaan replied by communicating to 
the secretary a copy of the letter which he had received from Bishop 
Rosati and which contained a fuller statement of the case than was to 
be found m the letter addressed by the prelate to the Propaganda. 
Moreover, he petitioned that his Holiness, Gregory XVI, declare what 
course, in view of the circumstances, the Jesuits were to pursue In other 
words, Father Roothaan did not ask for the dispensation in question 
or express the opinion that it ought to be granted. To ask for such 
dispensation was, as a matter of fact, forbidden to him, as he expressly 
declared, in virtue of the special vow taken by all professed members 

78 Van Qmckenborne to Dzierozynski, November 13, 1829 (B). 

79 Verhaegen ad Roothaan, February 4, 1833 (AA) 


of the Society of Jesus according to which they are not to permit any 
mitigation of the rule in matters regarding poverty. But the answer 
of the Holy Father was decisive In an audience of January 13, 1833, he 
granted the dispensation as being absolutely necessary under the cir- 
cumstances and he commissioned the Father General to determine the 
precise terms under which it was to be applied. The grounds on which 
this departure from Jesuit law was authorized were two-fold inability 
of Jesuit schools to support themselves without tuition-fees and pre- 
vailing prejudices, at least among certain classes of people, against free 
schools. Bishop Rosati, so Father Roothaan promptly informed the 
Missouri superior, "wrote to his Holiness asking that the Society be 
allowed to receive school-money [Mmeruale] in view of the peculiar 
circumstances obtaining among you as also in Ireland and England, to 
which petition his Holiness has graciously assented. As a consequence 
there is no longer any difficulty on this score and it is well, indeed, that 
the petition did not come from the Society." 80 And to Bishop Rosati 
the General wrote at length announcing the issue of his affair with the 
Holy See and concluding with the wish that "St. Ignatius may not take 
it amiss that in a matter which he had so much at heart and recom- 
mended to us so warmly, we turn aside for the time being [from the 
straight path] May he protect his sons from any evil consequences that 
may possibly result from the change." 81 

Father Roothaan's Ordtnatto de Mineruali, a body of practical direc- 
tions for putting the concession of the Holy See into effect, is dated 
February i, 1833 It enjoins that the tuition-rates are to be adjusted 
to those obtaining in other reputable day-schools of the country 5 that 
poor boys are not to be turned away or in any way neglected through 
inability to pay 5 that lawsuits are never to be instituted to recover 
tuition-fees, and that the income derived from tuition-fees is to be 
spent on the support of the Jesuit teachers and on school equipment, 
including furniture and libraries, and that no part of said income may 

80 Roothaan ad De Theux, January 22, 1833 (AA). 

81 Roothaan a Rosati, February 21, 1833 (AA). In Italian. In January, 1836, 
Father Roothaan expressed to Father Verhaegen his serious doubt as to the validity 
of the dispensation de Mvnervah, seeing that the principal plea alleged to obtain 
it was the refusal of parents or many of them to send their children to free 
schools. This condition, so the General learns, does not actually exist, as is proved 
by Father McElroy's free school at Frederick, Md. Verhaegen in his reply mam- 
tains that there is no parity between the Maryland school and St Louis College 
Moreover, "the number of boarders falling off, the college may have to depend 
on day-students and then we shall see whether decent boys (fueri decentes) will 
come to a free-school." Verhaegen ad Roothaan, May 8, 1836 (AA). The present 
practice of Jesuit schools in accepting tuition-fees is based mainly on the circum- 
stance that these schools are, with rare exceptions, without adequate endowment 
and therefore may accept tuition-fees, which are a virtual endowment. 


be lawfull\ expended for the subsistence of the Jesuit teachers m the 
contingency, that expenses under this head can be adequately met from 
other sources Since the issue of Father Roothaan's Ordmatoo of 1833, 
whatever prejudices against free schools mav have then existed in the 
United States have practically disappeared, except, it may be, in narrow 
circles of the socially exclusive, but the financial position of Jesuit 
schools still makes it necessary for them to rely as a rule upon tuition- 
mone} as their ordinary means of support The endowed or founded 
institution continues to be the Jesuit ideal; but the pay school represents 
with an exception here and there the type of Jesuit school actually in 
operation today. 





In the evolution of the Missouri Mission into a fully organized 
province of the Society of Jesus the first decisive step was its release 
from the jurisdiction of Maryland and its settmg-up as a self-governing 
unit in direct relations with the Father General. 1 This transformation 
was contemporary with the presence in the United States of Father 
Peter Kenney, a member of the province of Ireland, charged twice 
with the duty of visiting on the part of the Father General the few scat- 
tered houses of the Society of Jesus then existing in North America. 
As an orphan-boy running about uncared for in the streets of Dublin 
he had attracted the notice of an eighteenth-century Jesuit, Father 
Betagh, who provided for his education and otherwise put him in the 
way of utilizing for the Church the unusual gifts of mind and heart 
with which he was endowed. 

Father Kenney himself was conspicuous as an administrator in Ireland, 
for his one year of service m the direction of the National College of May- 
nooth left a double imprint on ecclesiastical education and spiritual life. He 
was the leading adviser of Edmund Ignatius Rice in the development of the 
first Christian Brothers, he had great influence in the early direction of the 
lush Sisters of Charity. He preached the first jubilee m Dublin since the 
sixteenth century, that of 1825, and rendered signal service as a witness 
for Catholic Ireland before both the Royal Commission on Education and 
the House of Lords Inquiry of 1825-1826. His fame as a speaker brought 
Henry Grattan, though practically a free-thinker, to the little chapel at 
Hardwicke Street, which preceded the opening of St. Francis Xavier's church 
close by, and if another hearer on occasion, Thomas Moore, did not relish 
Father Kenney's periods, it was because the preacher availed himself of the 
poet's presence to point out the dangers of evil literature m the plainest 

1 In the Jesuit administrative system the unit known as a mission is generally 
attached to a province, being an integral part of the same and subject to the 
jurisdiction of its provincial, only in exceptional cases do missions of tlie Society- 
stand unattached to any province and in immediate dependence on the Father 

2 T. Corcoran, S J., The Clongowes Record, 1814 to 1832, with introductory 



In 1819 Father Kenne\ arrived in America as Visitor of the Mary- 
land Mission His engaging personalit} made an impression in Jesuit 
circles and outside of them. Testimonies on this head are numerous in 
the correspondence of the period "Never was there a clergyman in this 
countrv more universally esteemed, particularly by the native Americans 
and indeed b\ foreigners/' wrote Father John McElroy to the former 
superior of the Maryland Mission, Father John Grassi, then resident in 
Rome. Ct H:s perfect knowledge of the English language, his peculiar 
talent for government, his amiable and unassuming manners, has en- 
deared him to all persons to whom he has been introduced." 3 In a let- 
ter also to Grassi, the actual superior of Maryland, Father Anthony 
Kohlmann, had likewise words of eulogy. 

He [Father Kenney] is a great man indeed, and has, I think, a won- 
derful talent for governing and [for] the pulpit He preached on the occa- 
sion of the tradition of the pallium to our Archbishop and in Washington 
at the funeral services for the Duke of Berry In both places he was gener- 
ally declared to be the best orator that ever was heard in this country On 
the latter occasion the audience was perhaps the most respectable that was 
ever assembled in Washington City. All the foreign ministers, the heads of 
our government, Qumcy Adams and most members of our two houses of 
the legislature were present and highly pleased R F father] Visitor, I know, 
will do much good, wherever he may happen to be, but I doubt whether 
his presence can be an} where else as useful as here, were he to do nothing 
else but to preach at Washington in time of Congress He would bring much 
honor on the Catholic religion all over the Union 4 

In 1820 Bishop Du Bourg, then resident in St Louis, was petition- 
ing Rome to appoint Father Kenney to the see of New York, at the 

Chaptetf on- Irish Educators (Dublin, 1932), p. 107. Peter Kenney, born in 
Dublin July 7, 1/79, entered the Society of Jesus September 20, 1804, died in 
Rome No\ ember 19, 1841. 

3 McElroj to Grassi, June 7, 1820 (AA) 

4 Kohlmann to Grassi, Georgetown, April 8, 1820 (AA) Father Nermckx m 
an account of his journey to Europe in 1820 has this reference to Father Kenney 
"Whilst here [Washington] we went to see St Patrick's Catholic Church which, 
upon my first arrival m America, consisted of a square frame building m very poor 
condition, it is now a handsome church of free-stone, accommodating three thou- 
sand people. The funeral services for the Duke de Berry had just been held m 
the presence of all the foreign ambassadors and the most prominent members of 
the United States Congress, which was just then holding its sessions Rev. Father 
Kenney, Visitor of the Jesuits, and an Irishman of uncommon eloquence, preached 
the funeral oration to the admiration and delight of all present " Maes, Life of 
Rev Charles Nennckx, p 428. Bishop Spaldmg, referring to a retreat conducted 
by Father Kenney for the clergy of the Bardstown diocese (1832) wrote "The 
impression made by this truly eloquent man of God was deep and lasting." 
Spaldmg, Life of Bishop Flaget, p 271. 




Peter Kenney, S J (1779-1841), Visitor of the Jesuit houses in the United States 
From a contemporary portrait. 



A letter of Van Quickenborne to Kenney, November 15, 1830, welcoming him 
on his arrival as Visitor in the United States Archives of the Maryland-New York 
Province, S ]. 

THE VISITATION OF 1831-1832 313 

same time requesting Bishop Plessis of Quebec to support his petition. 
To the latter he wrote "I find all the qualities which so difficult a 
commission requires united in Father Kenney, provincial or visitor of 
the Jesuits in Maryland. He is an Irishman, a thing essential to turn 
aside national jealousies, and, if I am to believe all the reports about 
him, he is a man of rare talent, vigor and prudence. Your Lordship 
must surely have heard him spoken of I have had the assurance to 
write about him to Rome." Already in Ireland attempts had been 
made to secure Father Kenney for the coadjutorship of Kerry and the 
see of Dromore, and now, following upon Du Bourg's petition to the 
Holy See, Archbishop Marechal of Baltimore was making efforts, so 
it was reported, to have the Jesuit appointed to the vacant see of Phila- 
delphia. Fear that this ecclesiastical dignity might be fastened upon 
him was among the reasons, as he explained to the General, which led 
him to bring his visitation of Maryland somewhat abruptly to an end 
and return in 1820 to Ireland Father Kohlmann and his consultors, as 
also Archbishop Marechal, were thus disappointed in their expectations, 
for all had petitioned the General that Father Kenney be directed to 
remain in America as regularly constituted superior of the Mission of 
Maryland. 5 

Eight years later Kenney arrived in America for the second time, 
again as Visitor of the Jesuits in the United States, His commission 
from the General, Father Roothaan, was dated May 29, 1 830, and he 
was formally installed in his new charge at the community din- 
ner of Georgetown College on November 14 of the same year. The 
Polish Jesuit, Father Dzierozynski, for seven years the devoted superior 
of the Maryland Mission, had not been notified from Rome that he 
was to be superseded in that post by the Jesuit from Ireland The two 
offices of superior of the mission and Visitor, not being identical, were 
not necessarily merged in the same individual, and a doubt was ac- 
cordingly raised as to whether Father Kenney came as Visitor only or 
also as superior of the Maryland Mission 5 but meeting his consultors, 
Dzierozynski impressed upon them his own belief that he was suc- 
ceeded in office by the Visitor and announcement to this effect was ac- 
cordingly made at the ceremony of installation. In Father Kenney's 
letters-patent from the General were to be read the words, "we make 
choice of you as Visitor of the American Mission with the powers of 
superior of the same mission. 55 6 

On the day following that on which Father Kenney took up at 
Georgetown his duties of Visitor, Father Van Quickenborne indited 

5 Des Bourg a Plessis, August 26, 1820. Quebec Archdiocesan Archives Kohl- 
mann ad Fortis, April 10, 1822 ( ? ) (AA). 

6 Memorandum (B) 


to him from distant Florissant a cordial letter of welcome. Briefly, but 
pomtedh he laid before the new superior the pressing needs of the 
Missouri Mission and his o\\n vehement desire to be sent among the 
Indians u We are all of that disposition of mind/' he is speaking of 
the \\esttrn Jesuits general!}, "that we desire to be obedient in all 
things and m the fullest possible measure and we trust that by God's 
grace we shall continue always to be of that mind. We are hoping that 
the \isitation will result not only in a more than ordinary measure of 
good but also in an increase in our numbers . . As the hart pants 
after the fountains of waters, so does my soul long to look upon you." 7 
About a \ear later Kenne\ arrived in the West to pursue there his work 
of visitation Meantime Van Quickenborne had been superseded as 
superior b\ Father De Theux and the Mission of Missouri had been 
separated from that of Maryland. 

The withdrawal of the western Jesuits from the jurisdiction of the 
Man land superior and the erection of Missouri into an independent 
mission, having its o\\n superior and through him direct relations with 
the General, had been contemplated even in the time of Father Fortis. 
The distance between East and West and the resulting difficulty in 
epistolan and other communication between the two sections of the 
countrv created problems of administration which would presumably 
disappear with Missouri looking after its own affairs. Almost within 
a \ear, accordingly, of his election as General, Father Roothaan put 
the proposed change into effect On September 23, 1830, he made 
official announcement by letter both to Father Kenney and Father 
Van Quickenborne of the separation of the two missions and five days 
later, September 28, he communicated to Father De Theux the same 
ne^s as also the latter's appointment to be superior in the West. The 
General's letter to Van Quickenborne has much of the formality of a 
decree "Taking counsel with myself how I might dispose of your 
portion of the American missions with a view to more ready adminis- 
tration and greater growth, I have decided to separate this mission 
(bounded namely by the limits of Missouri and including the houses 
of St. Louis, St. Charles and Florissant) from the rest of the missions 
and to place it, after being thus withdrawn from the jurisdiction of 
the Superior of the latter, under a superior of its own, immediately 
dependent on the General, as I have this very day written to the 
Visitor of America, Father Kenney." s Father Roothaan's communica- 
tion to De Theux, after announcing the division of East from West, 

7 Van Quickenborne ad Kenney, November 15, 1830 (B) 

8 Roothaan ad Van Quickenborne, September 23, 1830 (AA). 

THE VISITATION OF 1831-1832 315 

It seemed incumbent on us to consult in this manner the good of the 
Mission, which, on account of distance and what resulted therefrom, the 
long-continued absence of the Superior and the difficulties of correspond- 
ence, has suffered inconveniences of no small degice I appoint \ou the 
Reverend Father Superior of your Mission, having in the Loid a ver) gieat 
confidence m your probity and prudence The mles \\hich "jour 

Reverence must follow in his office are those which aie pi escribed for Pro- 
vincials, although the Mission has not as yet all the elements that aie re- 
quired for a regular Province You shall choose from among the graver of 
the Fathers four consultors, who, as your Reverence also, wilt have to corre- 
spond with the General, as the rule prescribes . . If candidates present 
themselves, the appointment of a competent master of novices must first be 
looked to. 9 

Finally, Father Roothaan made known to De Theux that he had 
instructed the Visitor to transfer to Missouri certain subjects of Belgian 
birth employed at the time in the Mission of Maryland These were 
five in number, Fathers Lekeu, Peeters, Van de Velde, Van Lommel 
and Mr. Van Sweevelt, a scholastic. Moreover, the expediency of 
extending his visitation to Missouri, if circumstances so permitted, was 
suggested to the Visitor by the Father General 10 

Father Roothaan's letter o September 28, 1830, to Father De 
Theux was delayed an unaccountably long time on its way to St. Louis, 
having come into the latter's hands only on February 24 of the follow- 
ing year. Two days later, February 26, 1831, the announcement it con- 
tamed of the erection of Missouri into an independent mission was com- 
municated by the newly-appointed superior to the fifteen members that 
made up the Society of Jesus m the West. 11 By the latter the news was 
received with satisfaction, relieving them as it did of the awkward 
situation involved in dependence on the East. "This new arrangement 
of our affairs," so Father Verhagen, rector of St Louis College, ex- 
pressed himself to the General, "is a source of great consolation to all 
of us, and as it seems to me, will make not a little for the greater 
glory of God." 12 The installation of Father De Theux as superior 
of the independent Mission of Missouri is officially dated February 

27, 1831- 

To the Maryland Jesuits, on the other hand, the news of the sepa- 
ration of Missouri from the East came as an unpleasant surprise. Only 
a few years before the feeling was widespread among them that the 
recruits arriving from Belgium and other countries of continental 

9 Roothaan ad De Theux, September 28, 1830 (AA) 

10 Roothaan ad Kenney, September 23, 1830 (AA) 

11 De Theux ad Roothaan, March 17, 1831 (AA). 
Verhaegen ad Roothaan, April 4, 1831. (AA), 



Europe were unfitted for service in the East but might be usefully 
employed m the less meticulous West. But now, with a complete 
reversal of feeling on this head, the prospect of losing their Belgian 
fellow-workers, whether m the East or the West, was alarming. The 
Father Visitor consenting, letters of protest against the detaching of 
Missouri from the East were written at once to the Father General 
b> the Maryland consultors The reasons alleged against the measure 
were, among others, that fraternal charity might be jeopardized, that 
a spirit of nationality might develop, presumably if the Belgians were 
to be grouped together in a mission of their own, and that Maryland 
could not dispense with the services of the few Belgians at that time 
employed m its houses Writing in Italian, Father Mulledy, rector 
of Georgetown College, laid particular stress on the last of these points 
"Van de Velde is very useful and almost necessary in this college as 
teacher of French and calligraphy, things highly esteemed in this 
country. Further, he is an excellent preacher in English. ... In fine, 
I don't see \\hat we shall do if we are to lose these four very fine 
subjects " 13 

Father Roothaan on his part was not minded to rescind the meas- 
ure he had earned out. "There are Belgians who have gone to Amer- 
ica," he explained to Father Dubuisson of Georgetown College, "to 
work in Missouri and sums of money have been spent on the same 
object. It is said that men and money have been detained in Mary- 
land. What I have had in view is that care be taken to fulfil all jus- 
tice. If you wish to keep the Belgians for Maryland, well and good, 
but then let Americans be sent to Missouri. It is all the same, it is even 
better." 14 And to Father de Gnvel the General wrote: "As to what 
concerns Missouri, it would be a great mistake for anyone to suppose 
that the Fathers in that region asked for their separation. They never 
gave evidence that they had even the least idea of it. In that matter 
I have done nothing else but follow out the plan which the Father 
Assistants had already suggested to Father Fortis with a view to greater 
convenience in the government of Missouri." 15 Father Roothaan was 
especially anxious to dispel the suspicion that the separation of the mis- 
sion had been decreed at the instance of the Missounans, as he made 
clear to Father Kenney "Lest, then, such surmise be the occasion of 
even the slightest cooling off of charity, I will say, what is the actual 
fact, that nothing was ever either said or done by the fathers of Mis- 
souri to bring about this arrangement or even indicate that they 
wanted itj it came rather as a surprise as well to them as to the fathers 

13 Mulledy a Roothaan, January 28, 1831 (AA) 

14 Roothaan ad Dubuisson, May 3, 1831 (AA) 

15 Roothaan ad Gnvel, December 22, 1831. (AA). 

THE VISITATION OF 1831-1832 317 

of Maryland, nor were there any other reasons for it than that the 
mission in question might be administered with greater convenience " 16 
In accordance with Father Roothaan's instructions that certain Bel- 
gian members be transferred from Marjland to Missouri as ^properly 
belonging" to the latter mission. Father Van Lommel and Mr. Van 
Sweevelt were sent by Father Kenne> to St. Louis, where they ar- 
rived on October 24, i83i. 17 The departure of Van Lommel was 
keenly felt by the Catholic residents of Washington. After a residence 
of only a few years in the United States he spoke and wrote English 
with remarkable ease and was a ready preacher in the language of his 
adopted country, but he was in declining health, with consumption 
rapidly gaming upon him, and he survived only by two years his arrival 
in the West The Visitor lavished encomiums on him in a letter to the 
General, at the same time indicating the impression which his transfer 
to Missouri was making upon the public 

A lovable man, a sterling religious, a most zealous pastor, Father Van 
Lommel has carried the hearts of all away with him All the Catholics of 
this city, who number about two thousand, lament his departure bitterly, 
and I know that it is not at all pleasing to the Archbishop The complaint 
is made that we are running off to Missouri, and abandoning Virginia, of 
which he has the administration I have placated the prelate in the 

most respectful terms, saying it is not in my power to detain any longer 
the Fathers sent to Missouri, that many of them have come here with the 
express purpose of passing on to the West and that the Bishops of those 
parts are anxious for the coming of the fathers and have even written to 
Rome to obtain others. 18 


Within a week of the arrival in St. Louis of Father Van Lommel 
and Mr. Van Sweevelt, these two Belgians were followed October 24, 
1831, by a third. Father Van de Velde, of Georgetown College, to- 
gether with Father Kenney himself and his socius or assistant. Father 
William McSherry. On the eve of their departure from the East 
Kenney and his companion had the pleasant experience of being enter- 
tained by the venerable Charles Carroll of Carrollton at his mansion, 
Doughoregan Manor, Howard County, Maryland The incidents that 

16 Roothaan ad Kenney, June 2, 1831 (AA). Roothaan's statement has been 
borne out by a careful examination of the correspondence of the Missouri Jesuits 
with the Father General during the period 1823-1830 No instance has been dis- 
covered of any petition on their part for the separation of the missions. 

17 "Profrie pertinent ad, Missouri" Roothaan ad Kenney, January 18, 1831 

18 Kenney ad Roothaan, September 15, 1831 (AA). 


betel! the part} on the \\a> were put on record by Father Van de Velde 
:n a series of letters that make a contribution of interest to the literature 
of earh \\ebtern tra\el From Florissant, whence "there is post only 
once in the ueek," the Visitor some months after his arrival there in- 
formed Father McElro\ of Fredencktown that the long journey from 
the East had been a most unpleasant one, warning him at the same 
time against exaggerated accounts of the glories of the West 

The \er> recent information sent us by F[ather] V Lommel was quite 
incorrect and we came the worse way of the two after all We should have 
gone to Pjttsburg, where theie was water enough for the smaller boats and 
we found no other at Wheeling Most miserable, dirty, crowded, dan- 
gtious boats they weie. There is less danger in going to Ireland than in 
coming to St Louis Pray for us and make every one pray that we may 
get safe to Gto\vn [Georgetown] and do not believe the loth part of what 
}ou hear of the glories of the western waters or the richness of the soil 
or the beauty of the sceneiy of the western states There is no doubt some- 
thing of all this, but the loth of what is said exceeds the truth of what is 
found But of all this we give a better account m talking than in writing 20 

During his stay of half a year with the Jesuits of the West Father 
Kenney had every opportunity to study thoroughly the conditions that 
obtained among them, and he was able in consequence to frame vari- 
ous wise regulations looking to the better government and general wel- 
fare of the newly organized mission. He arranged for the transfer from 
Father Van Quickenborne to a board of trustees consisting of Fathers 
Verhaegen, De Theux and Walsh, of the few parcels of real-estate 
\\hich the Society of Jesus was then holding in Missouri. He ordained, 
m this matter carrying out the express wishes of the Father General, 
that the Jesuits should lend their devoted friend, Bishop Rosati of St. 
Louis (praesulf Soaetatts amanfrssimo) , every possible assistance in his 
solemn services at the cathedral, that as often as he pontificated some 
of their number should be in attendance, and that twice a month one 
of the fathers should be sent to the cathedral to preach in English. He 
ordered the transfer to the Bishop of a new residence projected by 
Father De Theux in the neighborhood of Louisiana in Pike County, 
Missouri, both because the mission was pitifully short-handed in men 
and because the proposed residence lay outside the territory assigned 
the Jesuits by Bishop Du Bourg's Concordat. 21 One regulation of 
Father Kenney's was after a brief trial found to be impracticable and 
in deference to the wishes of Bishop Rosati and the laity was allowed 

19 WL, X. 

20 Kenney to McElroy, St Ferdinand, February 9, 1832. (B) 

21 Brief report (Latin) on Kenney's visitation of the Missouri Mission (AA) 

THE VISITATION OF 1831-1832 319 

to lapse This was that High Mass was to be sung not oftener than 
twelve Sundays in the year in the churches of Florissant and St. Charles, 
the only parish-churches then served by resident Jesuit pastors In fram- 
ing the regulation the Visitor had said with characteristic vigor of 
phrase "We are repeatedly admonished m the Institute that High 
Masses and similar functions which occupy the time and distress the 
chests of our priests and scholastics are no duty of our vocation. The 
circumstances of this country alone could justify us in thus employing 
our missionaries and therefore the frequency of these functions is to 
be limited strictly to the necessity of the place High Mass 10 or 12 
times a year is as much as this necessity requires and therefore in no 
church must it be oftener allowed." Though Bishop Rosati did not 
interfere with this arrangement, he looked upon it, so it became known, 
with disfavor. The practice of High Mass on all Sundays of the year 
was accordingly renewed at Florissant and St Charles 22 

From the beginning of the mission it had been customary for the 
Jesuits of Missouri to wear the cassock or religious garb not merely 
within their own houses, but also whenever they left them to appear 
m public "A white drab great coat is used in winter, in summer noth- 
ing over the habit " When Father Verreydt, garbed m soutane, entered 
Columbia, Missouri, the people, so he recalled in later years, "won- 
dered and stared at him." "One old lady took me for the head-man of 
the Freemasons." At a meeting of Father De Theux and his consultors, 
November 29, 1831, presided over by the Visitor, it was decided that 
this practice of wearing the cassock in public should be discontinued* 
The sentiment among the fathers was decidedly in favor of the change; 
only Fathers Van Quickenborne and De Theux stood for a continuance 
of the existing custom. To Van Quickenborne especially the innovation 
was most unwelcome and he is reported to have said that he would have 
died rather than permit it had the matter rested with him alone. As 
for Father Kenney, with the discernment that came to him from a wide 
acquaintance with men and things, he was quick to sense the disadvan- 
tages of maintaining m a non-Catholic country a usage that might be 
adhered to with advantage m countries that had long known the Faith. 
Even before the Visitor left the East, Father Verhaegen had written to 
him pleading that the wearing of the cassock outside the cloister be 
abandoned j and now that he was in St Louis, the reasons that mili- 
tated against the custom were earnestly laid before him. The fathers 
were subject to discourtesies, not to say physical molestation at times 
on the streets of St. Louis 5 the leading lay Catholics of the city looked 
with disfavor on the practice 5 the student-boarders were reluctant to 



accompany the cassocked prefects through the public streets, m fine, 
the mmibtr} and the educational prestige o the fathers were being daily 
compromised* Father Kenney, in his report to the General, pictures 
the grotesqueness of the figure cut by a Jesuit missionary in Missouri 
as, mounted on horse-back, he wore a Roman soutane tucked around 
his bod} and an American hat, a manner of dress neither strictly clerical 
nor strictly laj , but only a luckless attempt to meet the exigencies of 
both. Cunousl) enough, the wearing of the cassock was inevitably 
associated in the minds of the Indians with the beloved black robe and 
Father De Smet and his generation of missionaries made it a point 
never to appear among the red men except so garbed The ordinance 
of Father Kenney regulating the use of the cassock ran as follows 

The Visitor ha\mg considered the weighty reasons proposed to him by 
almost all the Fathers, enacts that in future none of our Religious shall wear 
the cassock or am pait of the dress which has eventually become peculiar 
to the Society, in the public roads or streets of towns or cities, or m general 
outside of the precincts of our own habitations The priests and scholastics 
uJl in this pomt conform to the 2jth decree of the Provincial Council of 
Baltimore as practiced m the Diocese of St Louis In actual circumstances 
to dress like Secular Priests appears more conformable to our Institute than 
to wear that form which is used in countries where the Society is acknowl- 
edged as a religious body b} the laws of the country The Institute lays it 
do\*n as a principle that we have no peculiar dress and admonishes the 
Provincials that their duty is only to see that in our dress the three following 
conditions be observed i That it be respectable, 2 that it follow the style 
in common and approved use among the clergy of good standing of the 
locality in which one lives, that it be not at variance with the profession 
of poverty which we make The lay-brothers and novices aie not to dress 
like priests, but, whatever dress they wear, it must realize the first and thn d 
conditions- when the novices are Priests, of course they dress as Priests do 23 

The principal service which Father Kenney rendered to the Mis- 
souri Mission was the uniformity of daily routine which he introduced 
into its houses. He succeeded indeed in placing the details of domestic 
economy and internal discipline on a working-basis that stood the test 
of time and has endured more or less unchanged to the present day. 
His ordinances in this connection were embodied by him in a memorial 
dated May 8, 1832, the day on which he departed from St. Louis for 
the East. Filling about sixty pages of an octavo-sized note book and 
written m clear and forceful English, this document enters into almost 

2S Memorial left mtk the Superior of the Mission m Missouri by Rev Father 
Peter Kenney, Visitor of the Missions of the Society in the United States 
1832 (A). 

THE VISITATION OF 1831-1832 321 

every detail of Jesuit domestic life Some extracts from it will serve 
to indicate its character 

The rules of the Prepositus and Rector establish only three points as 
certain and fixed in the daily distinction of time ist That seven hours 
intervene between the time of going to bed and the hour of using, 2 that 
an hour be given to recreation ever} day after dinner and supper The 
4th, yth and gth Congregations ha\e also respectively decided, that besides 
Mass and two examens of conscience daily, all should make an houi J s pra} er, 
and should spend the quarter of an hour before the night examen in prepa- 
ration for the next morning's meditation, and spiritual reading The gth 
Congregation also approved the custom already established of reading every 
day the litany of the Saints, and ordered that the Ave Maris Stella, sub 
tuum fraestdium et defende, quaesumus, should be added to them The 
loth Congregation made the fuither addition of the prayer, Deus y qui 
glomficantes etc and more recently the Litanies of the Blessed Virgin were 
prefixed to those of the Saints and the prayer of St Joseph annexed To 
this, General Brzozowski added the prayer of the Sacred Heart. Provided 
these duties are daily performed and the time allotted given to them, all 
the details of the daily distribution are left to the Provincials and local 
Superiors to be arranged according to the customs of the countries and the 
exigencies of the duties to be performed and of the persons who are to 
perform them When, however, conformity to the general usage of the 
country can exist without any serious disadvantage, it should always be pre- 
ferred And therefore the following distribution shall be observed in the 
Mission of Missouri, as being the more general usage of the Society at present, 
and the only one adapted to places where the days and nights are much about 
the same length as m Missouri. 

Rising f]/2 Supper and Recreation 

Meditation 9 Litanies 

Mass 9J4 Preparation for Meditation 

Examen 9^2 Examen 

12^ Dinner 9^4 Bed 
2 End of Recreation 

The Superiors of the Residences are bound to have great care of the 
Missioners who are liable to be called out at night to travel great distances 
in bad weather They should be furnished with good, safe, strong and swift 
horses, strong, warm clothing and a good watch which is really necessary 
to direct them m their lonely journeys, to arrange their stations, spiritual 
duties etc. 

On the sacred duty of chanty to the sick who are under our care but 
especially to those of the Society, the Superior ought to have ever present 
to his mind the words which the Institute uses on this subject, ff $ro re$a- 


j s in id itJttitdine Itivantur ipatta charitatis in Societate" With them the 
Lp,tunu commences p 4 6 8 Sect 2 , which contains the substance of 
ufut ,s ordued in the luks of the mfirmanan and prefect of health The 
local Supei or \\ill considtr tht piactice of every iota therein prescribed as a 
bacred dut\ imposed on his conscience 

When a physician is called in, the mfiimarian should carry with him to 
the chamber of the sick his book with pen and ink and cause every pre- 
scription and direction of the ph}sician to be therein noted by the m- 
firmanan that no mistake may ever occur, or be supposed to have occurred 
Gi cater attention to cleanliness, nay neatness and ventilation should not 
be found even m the Sanctuary than the infirmary, and when the sick 
pel son is able to take food, no care is too great which can be given to the 
food which he tats, to the delicate manner of preparing it, and the neatness 
and rcgubntj with which it should be served, a napkin should be given 
him and another spiead before him, or one used large enough for both 
purpobtb, such condiments given him as are allowed and such changes of 
plate etc as the diversity of food may require. On this subject it is impos- 
sible here to enter into details the rules already quoted are sufficient direc- 
tion, but more powerful than any laws will be that chanty which for the 
sake of a suffering brother in Xt "omma suffert, omnia sustmet Chantas 
fatten* est } bemgna est " Wo to the Superior through whose fault the life 
of any member of the Society is shortened, his health diminished or its 
rtco\ery retarded. That the Visitor may not have any share m so awful a 
malediction, he ordeis that an infirmary, on the limited plan proposed to 
him b} Fathei Verhagen, Rector of St Louis College, be immediately 
built, that it may be in a state to be occupied befoie the icturn of the sickly 
season - 4 


At the time of Father Kenney's arrival in the West St Louis Col- 
lege had scarcely rounded out its second year as a Jesuit institution. It 
was now, as from the beginning, making a painful uphill fight for bare 
existence and, inevitably perhaps, made an unfavorable impression on 
the cultured inspector from overseas. Educational conditions are largely 
a reflex of social and economic conditions and St. Louis at this period 
had all the earmarks of a crude frontier-town, being in fact America's 
last considerable outpost of civilized life towards the setting sun. The 
recorded impressions of the Father Visitor, the impressions, one might 
say, of an educational expert, are not without interest to the historian 
of college education west of the Mississippi The Jesuit father, John Mc- 
Elroy, was at this time making the experiment of a classical school for 
boys in Fredencktown, Maryland, and for his information Father 
Kenney put on paper a rather realistic account of conditions in the sister 
institution in St. Louis He noted that religious instruction was receiv- 

24 Idem. (A). 

THE VISITATION OF 1831-1832 323 

mg a due measure of attention, even the non-Catholic students, who 
numbered fifty-one out of a total registration of one hundred and 
fifty-two, not being neglected on this score. "But/ 3 he continued, "I am 
sorry to say that the object next in importance, which is that of a clas- 
sical education, is very far from being realized, nor is there any imme- 
diate prospect of this department being more flourishing. 55 He depre- 
cated the "great flourishing in the Prospectus about Rhetoric, Phi- 
losophy, classics etc" and "the glowing hopes and brilliant course of 
studies found m the pages of a Prospectus or in the reports of an 
Exhibition, but for which we seek in vain a -parte rei* It is said that 
high sounds and a little boasting does much in this country. If it do, 
it will not last long. Such mists disappear as the sun rises.' 5 The rather 
ambitious program of studies announced m the first prospectus of St. 
Louis College was, it is clear, an ideal to be worked up to rather than 
a goal actually achieved. "To teach 12 boys is Mr. Van de Velde's sole 
occupation I with the exception of Mathematics 3 times in the week 5 
which, however, is included in his 5 hours per day, the limit now fixed 
to the Master's labours. . . There is a class of French taught by 
Mr. Verhaegen the rector 3 times a week and good F. V. Quicken- 
borne spends his 2 hours every day with 8 Latin scholars, who, being 
also half-rhetoricians and therefore give [stc] only I hour to Latin, 
threaten to revive the Augustan age with their proficiency m Cornelius 
Nepos." 25 

Passing from the topic of the classics and the unpromising outlook 
before them m St. Louis College, the Visitor in a report to the Father 
General broached the larger question whether after all it was worth 
while for the members of the order to conduct institutions of a type 
such as the one he had come to know on the banks of the Mississippi. 
The presence of the Belgian fathers m St. Louis was admittedly a 
source of great satisfaction to the Bishop. Moreover with an industry 
and success beyond all praise they had learned to understand, speak 
and write the English language and had endeared themselves to the 
English-speaking Catholics of the city. After the completion of the 
cathedral, then in process of erection, they were to have a church of 
their own and from this as a center, even should the college collapse 
(quod Deus wvertat)^ they could minister with the greatest fruit to the 
spiritual needs of the English-speaking residents of St. Louis. On the 
other hand, there was the disconcerting fact that the education of one 
hundred and fifty boys, fifty-one of them non-Catholics, was engaging 
the energies, well nigh to the point of exhaustion, of a staff of seven 
fathers, one scholastic and three brothers. Of the entire number of 

25 Kenne7 to McElroy, February 9, 1832 (B). 


students, moreover, only eight were taking Latin It was open to doubt 
\\htther the results measured up to the energy expended, a considera- 
tion all the more urgent "in these United States where, turn where a 
man will, he finds Catholic families scattered here and there m very 
great numbers, who have neither Mass nor sacraments, sometimes not 
t\en baptism itself. How many non-Catholics, too, would not seven 
priests of the calibre we have here bring to our holy faith, were they 
to occupy themselves in serving missions. The excellent Father Peeters, 
whom I cannot mention without tears, learned English and m the space 
of two years, m one of two missions which he attended, converted 30 
non-Catholics In what length of time shall 30 be brought over to the 
faith out of the 50 non-Catholic students in whose instruction 7 priests 
are every day employed?" The situation would indeed offer no ground 
of complaint if circumstances of time and place only permitted the 
faculty to impart a more serious type of education. But "the young men 
go forth superficially educated m every way. They speak proudly of 
eloquence, rhetoric, and of its figures, but of the Greek and Latin 
authors there is ignorance profound. . . To my mind, then, the 
greatest drawback of all results from the nature of the education which 
is demanded in the day-schools of small towns and even in the boarding- 
schools, where any better training does not commend itself to the par- 
ents In these western parts everything is m the cradle. A fairly large 
registration, more populous cities and material resources are required 
for the cultivation of letters and the sciences, but I don't know what 
fatality has so far driven the Jesuits to avoid the better-known cities 
and take in hand the cultivation of this stubborn soil. ... I should not 
readily r advise that colleges of this kind be opened by Ours in similar 
localities, for I doubt whether the results would answer to the labor 
entailed. Is it in the interest of the common good that our priests wear 
out their strength and spend their days in the management of colleges 
such as this?" 26 

In the same letter from which quotation has just been made the 
Visitor requested the Father General to impress upon the St. Louis 
Jesuits the necessity of promoting the study of Latin and Greek This 
they were not doing for fear that parents as a result of solicitations m 
this direction might withdraw their sons from college altogether. Re- 
acting to the representations made by the Visitor, Father Roothaan, as 
in his letter of October 25, 1832, to Father Verhaegen, made a strong 
plea for classical education as a practical ideal even in the uncongenial 
environment of the American West. "I should wish, however, that the 

2C Kenne> ad Roothaan, April 25, 1832 (AA) Father John Peeters, a Belgian, 
died at Frederick, Md , m 1831 at the age of thirty-one 

THE VISITATION OF 1831-1832 325 

education and instruction imparted be brought into closer alignment 
with the standards of the Society and that the Latin and Greek lan- 
guages be better cultivated For to give the majority of the students 
only those subjects which are everywhere given equally well by junior 
clergymen and even laymen is not an affair of such great moment that 
so many of our priests should spend their time and strength m occu- 
pation of this sort, especially when the scarcity of apostolic men is so 
great and the harvest so vast. You ought to see whether persons cannot 
be found among you willing and able to teach schools of this kind under 
our direction." To the Visitor, Father Roothaan was revealing at the 
same time (October 23, 1832) his disappointment over the unpromis- 
ing outlook at St. Louis. "The College of St Louis I What is to be 
done' It certainly cannot now be abolished and so must be tolerated. 
Meantime the Fathers there are to be urged to come nearer by degrees 
to our system of studies and especially to give more attention to Latin." 
The St. Louis Jesuits were, as a matter of fact, merely facing a situa- 
tion which for the moment they had no means of bettering The classics 
have never been a marketable commodity in a frontier settlement The 
education based upon them simply had to bide its time. The time came 
and with it St. Louis College made of the classics of the ancient world 
the staple of the education which it offered to the public. Meantime, 
Father Verhaegen was careful to acquaint the General with the diffi- 
culties that beset for the moment any insistence on high educational 
ideals* "We are placing on the pursuit of letters just that degree of 
emphasis which the state of our infant country allows. Things here, 
Reverend Father, are all new and must be moulded into shape. The 
study of languages, if you except English and French, has no great 
attraction for the young. This defect will be remedied only in the 
course of time, namely, when the family affairs of the inhabitants be- 
come more settled and an end be put to all these changes and shaftings 
of residence" At the beginning of the session 1833-1834 the students 
taking Latin numbered thirty as compared with eight in January, 1832, 
while the Greek class showed a membership of eight. By July, 1834, 
the Greek class had ceased to be, the students previously in attendance 
having withdrawn from the class or perhaps from college altogether, 
while other students could not obtain permission from their parents to 
take up the study. Three years was the average term of a boy at col- 
lege, and so, Verhaegen observes, "since they know scarcely anything 
when they come to college, few are permitted to finish the classical 
course, as it is called." Only at a subsequent period did circumstances 
allow of a more respectable position for the classics and a more satis- 
factory organization of the entire scheme of studies as shall be seen 
at a later stage of this history. 



The winter of 1831-1832 was of exceptional seventy, greatly to the 
discomfort of Father Kennev, who suffered from chronic asthma and 
seemed peculiar! v sensitive to the idiosyncrasies of Missouri weather. 
"Was it a friend or an enemy/ 5 he puts the question to Father Dziero- 
z\nski, "who counselled us to come here in the winter-time?" Writing 
from Florissant to the Father General, he enlarges on the same topic 
of Missouri weather or climate, which, to judge from the prevailing 
good health of the western Jesuits, seemed to be of a rather wholesome 
sort after all- 

I am living m a solitude. I have it on hearsay that the world goes on 
as usual, hut outside oui domestic walls I see nothing at all but the sky, 
which is veiv often clouded, or the snow or the earth, sometimes frozen, 
sometimes drenched with rain, such have been the fluctuations of weather 
from the beginning of December to this very day A bnsk wind is almost 
constant!} blowing from the Northwest and it nearly freezes one's blood 
At St. Lotus the great Mississippi River, which flows with a swift current 
of 3 [ ? ] miles an hour, was so thoroughly frozen over for almost two 
months that whatever came to market from the opposite or Illinois shore, 
fall commodities for the provisioning of the town come from that quarter), 
was carried across in wagons drawn by horses or oxen And these things 
happen at 30 degiees North Latitude, the same to wit, as that of Palermo, 
where it is ever pleasant, where winter is only another placid summer and 
where even the Sirocco is scarcely felt And yet all our men here, 21 m 
number and grouped in three houses, enjoy good health, though subject to 
bilious fever, all except Brother Henry Reiselman, who, I fear, is wearing 
out with slow disease and work. 27 

During Father Kenney's stay m the West his services as a preacher 
w ere m frequent requisition. "Father Visitor has preached often m our 
mission especially m St. Louis," we read in a contemporary letter, "the 
people are m rapture when they speak of him " 28 Bishop Rosati was